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Wick aiming to keep run going as Covid issues affect fixture list

By Alan Hendry

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Wick Academy's Jack Halliday and Jordan Cooper of Turriff United during Monday's game at The Haughs. Halliday scored twice as Academy won 3-2. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Jack Halliday and Jordan Cooper of Turriff United during Monday's game at The Haughs. Halliday scored twice as Academy won 3-2. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy will be hoping there is no rise in Covid-19 self-isolation as they look to keep their good run going this weekend.

The Scorries have taken 18 points from a possible 21 in their last seven Highland League fixtures and they are eighth in the table.

They will be aiming for a fifth win in a row when Keith visit Harmsworth Park on Saturday.

However, the threat of Covid-related disruption hangs over the fixture list. Academy's 3-2 win at Turriff was one of only two Highland League games to go ahead on Monday, with Covid issues causing the postponement of the other seven.

Four matches scheduled for this weekend have already been called off because of the virus as the Omicron variant drives up numbers. Clubs are monitoring the situation while testing daily.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Wick manager Gary Manson said he had three players self-isolating. “Hopefully it doesn't creep up any more for the weekend, but as we are at the moment there are three unavailable for Saturday,” he said.

“We just need to take it day by day with the squad situation at the moment and see who we have available.”

Academy will be seeking to avenge a frustrating 2-0 defeat at Kynoch Park in August when both goals came from the penalty spot, courtesy of Przemyslaw Nawrocki and Michael Selfridge.

“We went down there in midweek and it was a cold, dark, windy, horrible night," Manson said. "We were short of numbers.

“I remember saying at the time in the changing room that if we were to be at least remotely successful this season, that needs to be our rock bottom – we need to improve from that performance and result.

“It wasn't great. We didn't create enough chances and we didn't play well enough.

“We are in good form and we are fancying our chances in every game we go into at the moment. It's just funny how football works – two or three wins and momentum builds, and you go into games thinking differently.

"On the flip side of that, if you don't win for two or three games in a row then confidence is low and there are different thoughts.

“We'll be going in fully intent on getting another three points on the board against Keith."

Manson is pleased with the character his players have demonstrated throughout the campaign.

“They've shown numerous times this season that they've come back from going a goal behind and either getting a draw or getting wins now," he said. “We were behind on Monday, we were behind against Huntly, we were behind against Clach.

"The boys show week in, week out the kind of bottle they've got for the fight.

“I have been telling them all season to remain level-headed. It doesn't matter what happens in the game – whether we score first, whether they score first, you just have to remain level-headed and concentrate on doing your job.

“They've taken it on board and I can't complain at all about the character they've shown this season.

“No matter what happens, you just concentrate on what you're there to do and that's to score goals and win games.”

Keith, who are in 14th place, gave Inverurie Locos a scare in their last outing. The Maroons led 2-0 and 3-1 before Locos came back to win 5-3.

Gordon MacNab grabbed the decisive goal at The Haughs on Monday as Academy made it six wins from their last seven games.

Jack Halliday scored twice in the first half before having a twice-taken penalty saved. Callan Gray had put Turriff in front and trialist Jack McKenzie equalised for them after half-time, but MacNab's strike ensured a fourth win on the bounce for Academy.

The Highland League matches postponed so far for Covid reasons are Forres Mechanics v Brora Rangers, Huntly v Deveronvale, Nairn County v Fort William and Rothes v Inverurie Locos. Strathspey Thistle's home game against Turriff United is off because of a snowbound pitch.

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