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Forres Mechanics opted out of a chaotic last Highland League football season but will be part of the next one, says manager Charlie Rowley


By Craig Christie

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IT’S official - the next Highland League football season will involve Forres Mechanics once again.

Forres Mechanics’ Stuart Soane in pre-season action for a campaign they opted out of - but the Cans will return this year. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Forres Mechanics’ Stuart Soane in pre-season action for a campaign they opted out of - but the Cans will return this year. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

And Cans manager Charlie Rowley could soon be in the position to announce new signings his club’s return to the league.

Assuming Scotland’s gradual emergence from Covid-19 restrictions stays on track, the prospects of a full 2021-22 Highland League campaign beginning in July look good.

Mechanics made the wise step to sit out the last, ill-fated league season which began in November but managed to complete just 16 fixtures before the virus took its toll on proceedings.

Read more: Forres pull out of 2020-21 Highland League season

Cans fans haven’t seen their team play since March, 2020, but Rowley revealed the news they were wanting to hear this week.

“If there is a Highland League season starting, we will definitely be a part of it,” he said.
Forres Mechanics' manager Charlie Rowley. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Forres Mechanics' manager Charlie Rowley. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

What’s more, he said the vast majority of the squad he had in place a year ago have agreed to return, with just two unnamed players still to make a decision.

Rowley could also be in the position to announce new signings soon. He is on the trail of a defender currently at another Highland League club, and a young striker on the books of an SPFL outfit.

The Forres manager says a lot has been happening during his club’s absence from the field, which has given him plenty reason for optimism.

“The club has done a fair amount of work behind the scenes getting Mosset Park ready with some improvements on the pitch and such like,” he revealed.

“There’s a real feelgood factor at the club behind the scenes. They have certainly taken a step forward and I can anticipate good things happening to us if we continue the way we have been off the field with our preparations.

“If we can just add to the squad with two or three, we can be ultra competitive next year and that’s what I’m hoping for.”

Speculation suggests that a Highland League start on Saturday, July 24 is being considered by league officials.

Forres have watched from the sidelines as their league neighbours have endured a series of false starts and logistical problems associated with training and planned matches during the pandemic.

There will be no ‘told you so’ message from the Forres camp, as the club is just relieved to see a brighter outlook for a safe return to football.

“I don’t think anyone can now question the decision the club made,” Rowley added. “We have been proved right, regardless of what the other clubs decided on.

“I firmly believe the sensible decision was made by us but we’re not boasting about that. It could have proved to be the wrong decision but it turned out to be the right one.

“Things have been positive and it’s given us a platform to go and speak to some good players so we will see what happens.

“We’ve made numerous enquiries on players.”


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