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Forres Mechanics manager Gordon Connelly targets first win in charge against Highland League strugglers Fort William but warns victory won't come easily

By Craig Christie

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VICTORY over Fort William would reward Forres Mechanics efforts on the training ground, but it will have to be earned.

Forres manager Gordon Connelly. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Forres manager Gordon Connelly. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

That’s the warning from Cans’ manager Gordon Connelly, who doesn’t see Monday’s game against the league’s bottom side as a foregone conclusion.

Assuming the match beats the weather and Covid issues, Mechanics should be too strong for a Fort side which has conceded double figures in each of their last three outings, and are in real danger of dropping out of the league.

However, the December 27 clash would be the first game for the Lochaber club’s new manager Shadab Iftikhar, who had been scouting for Belgium international manager Robert Martinez before taking on the Fort job.

“It won’t be an easy game,” said Connelly. “I don’t know much about Fort William or their new manager, so we are not in the position to think it’s a foregone conclusion, that’s for sure.

“We won’t be treating it that way. We’re not in a position to think we can beat anyone in the form we are in.”

Connelly saw big improvements in his team’s fitness levels in their last outing, a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Formartine United, and was relishing the trip to Strathspey Thistle on Saturday until it was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

“We were looking forward to building on the positives we took from the Formartine game and we will be doing the same with the build-up to the Fort William game,” he said.

“Fingers crossed we can get the game to go ahead because it is one we are looking forward to. It should be a good day and a decent crowd, and the young lads are looking forward to it.

“I would like to finish the year with a win for the sake of the players. It has been a tough month for them and they are working hard for us, so we can’t fault them.

“They just need a win to settle them down and then we can look forward to a new year and hopefully a new era.”

Forres Mechanics goalkeeper Stuart Knight is back in training. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Forres Mechanics goalkeeper Stuart Knight is back in training. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Forres goalkeeper Stuart Knight has yet to play for the new management team because of injury, but he has taken part in recent training sessions. Buckie Thistle loan keeper Lee Herbert is likely to continue to deputise, but his deal will soon be expire.

“He has trained in the last couple of sessions so he’s not far away,” said Connelly.

“Lee’s loan deal will be up soon, so it’s just a case of protecting Knighty until such times as Lee either goes back or extends his stay.

“We won’t be rushing Knighty because he’s a big player for us and we want him to be 100 per cent.”

Connelly said he is also keen to sign a second keeper.

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