Top scorer Martens is putting in a power of work, says Halkirk United manager
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Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy has hailed his free-scoring striker Jonah Martens as an example to anyone who aspires to play at North Caledonian League level.
The 26-year-old is the league's top marksman this term with seven goals in all competitions so far, having helped himself to a double in last weekend's 4-0 home victory over Bonar Bridge.
That result allowed the Anglers to regain top spot as Loch Ness were beaten at Invergordon.
"Jonah has been superb for us this season," McElroy said. "There is no doubting Jonah’s ability and personally I am absolutely delighted for him as he is getting what he deserves at the minute.
"He puts in a power of work in training and is a good example to anyone who wants to play at this level. He is playing in an assured manner and importantly for me and the squad he is working hard on his defensive duties and continues to improve."
Martens' two goals against Bonar came after Andy Mackay had put Halkirk United in front. James Mackintosh rounded off the scoring, although McElroy felt his team could have won even more convincingly.
"The most pleasing aspect of Saturday was another clean sheet and another really mature performance from the squad," the manager said.
"No game is easy in this league and we knew from previous games that Bonar are capable of putting teams under pressure, in particular from set-pieces.
"Our back four were able to quash any real attempts and I thought our centre-back pairing of Ian Ross and Ryan Sutherland looked comfortable for the duration.
"Our only small complaint is we really should have scored a few more on Saturday. We need to show a little more composure in the final third, but I still feel we are a number of weeks away from hitting our peak in terms of physical fitness and sharpness."
Halkirk will be looking to retain their place at the top when they take on Alness United at Morrison Park on Saturday.
Asked whether the Anglers' positive start to the campaign had exceeded the club's expectations, McElroy said: "I am not sure if we are exceeding our own expectations but maybe those of a few others, especially thinking of the age and stage of the squad.
"This is really the first full season for the boys. There is a really positive and competitive atmosphere among the squad at the minute and we know we are capable of pushing any team when we are on our game. We are also fully aware there are tougher challenges ahead.
"We are going into every game with a confident attitude but I don’t think there will be any complacency. Alness will be disappointed with their start and we are acutely aware that they will be looking to kick-start their season with a win on Saturday.
"It’s impossible to predict any results in this league and that is probably why it has been so good for the spectators."
North Caledonian League results: Alness United 0, Thurso 3; Halkirk United 4, Bonar Bridge 0; Invergordon 1, Loch Ness 0; Orkney 3, Nairn County "A" 4; St Duthus 4, Inverness Athletic 2.
Saturday's fixtures: Bonar Bridge v Invergordon; Halkirk United v Alness United; Inverness Athletic v Thurso; Loch Ness v St Duthus; Orkney v Golspie Sutherland.