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Settled Scorries can fly up the league

By Matt Leslie

Academy skipper Alan Farquhar insists a settled side can have the Scorries flying up the Highland League table.

Recent form has shown that Academy, on their day, are a team to be reckoned with, but it is no coincidence that having a full squad to choose from of late has helped matters.

For Farquhar, that factor has been key to Wick's good run of form and hopes as many players as possible can stay fit and available – even though he knows that is easier said than done.

"Trying to get some consistency in both results and performance is what we're striving for and we've been doing that recently," he said.

"The team has been playing well but it's no coincidence that we've been in good form when everyone's available.

"The defence has been getting a lot of credit but that's because we've had a settled formation and allowed partnerships to flourish – such as the one I've got in the centre of defence with Andy Hardwick.

"People have said of us that we do well against the top teams but sometimes get bad results against teams around or below us.

"Those poor results, more often than not, come when we've had to chop and change the team.

"Injuries, suspensions and players having to miss games because of work commitments do affect the team as we don't have the established partnerships in defence or midfield in place.

"It's all about consistency and if you get that with the team, you get it with results too."

Wick's defence has had a familiar look with the same faces slotting into place – a fact that has no doubt contributed immensely to the Scorries not giving an inch to their opponents this past month.

Farquhar himself has been an integral part of it – although he modestly plays down any credit given to him, saying he's just happy to be part of things again following his injury woes.

"I'm just glad to be back and playing regularly," he added. "This is my first season back after my operations.

"It was frustrating to be out for so long but I'm no different to anyone else who has had a long spell out with injuries. Maybe that was my body's way of telling me that I needed a rest.

"But it's good to be back and, while the praise for how I've played has been nice, the other guys in defence deserve it too.

"Andy [Hardwick] has been a great player for us and he does well to balance his time with us with his shift work with the police.

"Joe [Michael Steven] is also a massive player to have in the team. Some may point to his disciplinary record but if you took the aggression out of him you wouldn't get the great defender that we're lucky to have.

"And as for Gary [Manson] – for all the youngsters that are coming through the ranks and into the first team, he is the one player they should aspire to be.

"Gary is a great example for them in the way he plays and looks after himself. He's probably the most professional player we have.

"He's 35 and he's the fittest member of the squad. We train two nights a week and then we're left to our own devices. Gary obviously puts in the extra hours of training in his own time."

The freezing weather wiped out all Saturday's scheduled Highland League matches, including Academy's fixture against Buckie Thistle at Harmsworth Park.

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