Wick Academy aiming to ensure Locos stay in bottom three
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Wick Academy will be looking to prolong Inverurie Locos' difficult start to the Highland League season when the teams meet at Harmsworth Park this weekend.
The Scorries' manager Gary Manson is sure their opponents will see a revival under new boss Dean Donaldson – but Academy will be going all out to ensure the Aberdeenshire side remain in the bottom three after Saturday's encounter.
Locos' only points from their opening 10 league fixtures have come from a draw at Brora and a home win against Strathspey Thistle. Academy are three places above them in the table in 13th, with seven points from nine matches.
Locos brought in Donaldson from Turriff United last month after parting company with Andy Low.
Manson said: “Inverurie are a good side – I don't know what went wrong with the previous manager, it's not for me to say. But looking from the outside in, the squad that they have there is miles better than what they've shown in their early form.
“They've got a good manager in now and I'm fully expecting them to get some results on the board and motor up the table. With the players that they have, the squad that they have, the potential is there to do a lot better.
“I have no doubt he will do well there. He's got an abundance of talent to work with – he'll just need to get the best out of them. I'm sure he will, and they'll start moving up the table.
"They won't be where they are for very long. We'll just need to make sure they stay down there after Saturday.
“With a new manager coming in, he'll be looking to get wins on the board early, so everybody will be playing for a place and it'll be a tough, tough game.”
Alan Hughes, Jack Halliday, Marc Macgregor and Kyle Henderson were among those who returned to the Wick starting line-up in last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Nairn. “We'll need to see how training goes this week – we got a couple of knocks on Saturday," Manson said.
Saturday's fixture will be the first home game for Academy since their 3-2 victory over Forres Mechanics a month ago, when Gordon MacNab was the hero with three goals in a seven-minute spell in the first half.
The Scorries have failed to find the net in their two outings since then – the 1-0 defeat at Lossiemouth, then Saturday's loss at Station Park.
Manson said after the Nairn match: “We are disappointed not to have taken at least a point, because over the piece I felt we were by quite a stretch the better team."
Dean Donaldson's replacement as Turriff United manager is Warren Cummings. He had a playing career mainly in England where he also went into coaching before moving back to his native Aberdeen.
Cummings said after his appointment was announced: "There were many attractions to the job for myself, none more so than working with a very talented group of players and alongside a highly ambitious board.
"There has been great work done in the last few years at this football club and it will be my job to further enhance this going forward during my tenure as manager."
Highland League fixtures – Friday, November 3: Banks O' Dee v Fraserburgh. Saturday, November 4: Brora Rangers v Forres Mechanics; Buckie Thistle v Lossiemouth; Clachnacuddin v Rothes; Deveronvale v Brechin City; Huntly v Formartine United; Keith v Strathspey Thistle; Nairn County v Turriff United; Wick Academy v Inverurie Locos (3pm).