Wick manager says back-to-back wins have boosted morale ahead of Formartine clash
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Manager Gary Manson says his Wick Academy players will be full of confidence as they go into Saturday's home game against Formartine United.
Morale is high after the Scorries completed back-to-back wins with last weekend's 2-0 victory over Forres Mechanics to move up to 12th in the table. That was the Scorries' first clean sheet of the campaign and it followed on from a battling 4-3 win at Huntly.
Manson acknowledged that seventh-placed Formartine are likely to offer a sterner test but he insists Academy are more than ready for it.
“Confidence has never been really low in the camp," he said. "I've never been worried about the boys going into a game feeling low – they've always had good spirits at training and on match days.
“But there's no doubt that the two wins on the bounce certainly boosts morale. Football is a funny game – as soon as you get one win and two wins, momentum builds and then confidence builds and everyone is looking to get on the ball and everyone is looking to take shots.
“It happens in games as well. If you go two goals up, everybody is wanting to get on the ball and everybody is wanting to do something to influence the game. But if you're 1-0 down or 2-0 down, players can go hiding.
“I think the way we won against Huntly was probably a big factor in boosting confidence and morale. To go 2-0 up, then to go 3-2 down and win 4-3 in the end, it was a good shot in the arm for us.
“We'll be going into Saturday full of confidence again. It is a step up in the quality of opposition but it's nothing we can't handle, I don't think, so we'll be going for the three points again.”
Ryan Campbell got both Wick's goals against Forres, from close range in each case after corners swung in by Ross Allan. Goalkeeper Graeme Williamson produced some important saves to ensure there was no nervy finale for the Scorries.
Williamson has been Academy's number one since signing in August 2020, after achieving success in the North Caledonian League and in summer football.
“I've felt sorry for Graeme so far this season because we've conceded goals in the vast majority of our games but not a lot can be labelled as his fault," Manson said.
“It's his first full season in the Highland League and it's a step up in standard for him but he has acquitted himself really well.
“I was really pleased for him to get the clean sheet on Saturday. Obviously it's not just him that is achieving the clean sheet but as a goalkeeper you want to get as many as possible, so hopefully that's the start of things and we can continue.
“We're not conceding goals from through balls and players going one-on-one with the goalie – it's more crosses into the box that we've struggled with, and we managed to deal with them on Saturday.
“Hopefully that continues. It's something that we do work on in training quite a lot and hopefully that will pay off now.”
Manson is also pleased to see squad numbers beginning to improve as players who have been missing come back into contention.
“Through one reason or another we've always had four, five, six or seven players missing every week, but hopefully that's it starting to turn a wee bit now,” he said.
Fixtures for Saturday – Highland League: Brora Rangers v Huntly; Fort William v Keith; Wick Academy v Formartine United.
Highland League Cup quarter-finals: Buckie Thistle v Inverurie Locos; Forres Mechanics v Clachnacuddin; Rothes v Fraserburgh.