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Wick Academy will make it tough for Highland League leaders Brechin City

By Alan Hendry

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Wick Academy's Marc Coghill tackles Murray Mackintosh of Brechin City during the match at Glebe Park last month. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Marc Coghill tackles Murray Mackintosh of Brechin City during the match at Glebe Park last month. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy will be looking to inflict some damage on Brechin City's quest for back-to-back Highland League titles when the teams meet at Harmsworth Park on Saturday.

The Hedgemen suffered a setback in midweek when they lost 2-1 to Buckie Thistle – four days after the Jags had been beaten 3-1 by Academy.

Brechin remain three points clear at the top of the table, but Wednesday's result at Victoria Park will have given renewed hope to the chasing pack – Buckie in particular, as they are now seven points behind the leaders with two games in hand.

Wick played Brechin as recently as February 24, at Glebe Park. Gordon MacNab gave the Scorries an early lead that day but Brechin responded with an equaliser by Matthew Wright and a double from Ewan Loudon, all in the first half, to run out 3-1 winners.

Academy, who are 13th in the table, have been in impressive form at home since the turn of the year. Last weekend's stirring victory over Buckie extended their unbeaten run at Harmsworth Park to six games.

Looking ahead to Saturday's clash, which has a 2pm kick-off, manager Gary Manson said: "We'll try our best. We gave them a good game in Brechin not that long ago, so we know what to expect.

"They'll know they are coming up for a tough game, given our home form and how we performed against them last time out down there.

"They are league champions, they're current league leaders. It'll be tough to get anything out of the game but we'll give it our best.

"They'll be coming up fully intent on getting the three points.

"They will be going all out to win – but Buckie were going all out to win last Saturday and we dealt with them, so you never know. We'll see what happens."

Orkney-based Owen Rendall is likely to return to the Wick squad. However, Sean Campbell will miss out and Marc Coghill could be a doubt as he has been struggling with a hamstring problem.

Matthew Robertson and Richard Macadie remain on the injury list and there is a question mark over whether Mark Macadie will recover in time.

Manson described Academy's home form as "formidable" after the win against Buckie. Marc Macgregor struck twice, either side of a goal by Kyle Henderson directly from a corner, before Jack Murray reduced the deficit.

Man of the match Owen Harrold said: "When we got the first goal there was really only one team that wanted to win that game.”

Loudon gave Brechin a first-half lead at Buckie on Wednesday but Graeme Stewart's men responded after the break with an equaliser by Max Barry and a deflected strike from Murray.

Fixtures for Saturday, March 30 – Highland League: Clachnacuddin v Banks O' Dee; Deveronvale v Buckie Thistle; Forres Mechanics v Formartine United; Keith v Huntly; Strathspey Thistle v Nairn County; Turriff United v Lossiemouth (all 3pm); Wick Academy v Brechin City (2pm).

Highland League Cup final: Brora Rangers v Fraserburgh (at Harlaw Park, Inverurie).

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