Wick Academy manager concerned over depleted squad for Rothes trip
Wick Academy manager Tom McKenna says he will have three-quarters of his regular team missing for Saturday’s Highland League clash with Rothes.
A combination of suspension, injury and players being unavailable means the Scorries will be severely under strength for the trip to Mackessack Park.
Wednesday night’s derby against Brora Rangers was postponed as Harmsworth Park was waterlogged, and McKenna joked that he would do a series of rain dances if he thought it might lead to the Rothes fixture similarly falling by the wayside.
Michael Steven, Davie Allan and Jack Henry are suspended, while Marc Macgregor, Gordon MacNab, Sam Mackay and Andy Hardwick are unavailable. Grant Steven and Jack Halliday remain sidelined by injury, although Danny Mackay could return.
The Speysiders – who were hit by a three-point deduction earlier in the season for fielding an ineligible player – are in 10th position, three places below Academy.
When the teams met at Harmsworth Park in September, Rothes ran out 3-1 winners.
“Rothes are a strong team and they’ve spent a lot of money,” McKenna said. “They’re quite physical and they have a lot of height.
“I think they’ve underperformed, for whatever reason, but they’ve not been beaten for a wee while.”
Academy will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 5-0 defeat to league leaders Cove Rangers at Balmoral Stadium. Three of the goals came in the last five minutes after Wick had been reduced to 10 men in the first half with the dismissal of Michael Steven.
Prior to that, Academy had been on an eight-game unbeaten league run and McKenna has been urging his team to make sure they finish the campaign in seventh spot.
However, the manager admits he has serious concerns about the lack of personnel for Saturday.
“I’m not looking forward to it, I’ll be perfectly honest. I’ve got probably three-quarters of the team out,” he said.
“I’m going to have to phone a few people to see if they can help us out and try and bring in some of the young lads, but the under-17s have a big game against Alness on Sunday.
“The first team is the priority, and if we have to bring young lads in we’ll try to manage it the best we can so as not to affect them too much for Sunday’s game.
“Our hands are tied. All you can do is put together a team that hopefully will do okay.
“It’s going to be a very, very big ask for the team we put out on Saturday.
“If we bring trialists in it’ll be guys who have not been involved with the team at all this year, and you’re bringing in youngsters who have a lack of experience and even though they’re good players they don’t have that physical element to their game yet.
“We’ll be looking for a lot of maturity from the experienced lads in the team and hoping they can take a lot of responsibility.
“What I’ve found with these lads is that when their backs are against the wall they’ve produced the goods, so I’m hoping that’ll be the case on Saturday.”
McKenna added: “It’s frustrating, but it’s just the geography of where we are and the catchment area that we have. I’ve got to work with what I’ve got up here, local lads who are true to the county and hopefully to the football team.”
Academy's league against Brora Rangers at Harmsworth Park has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 17 (kick-off 8pm).