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New deal for ex-Ross County kid Joe Gauld at Forres Mechanics, but Calum Howarth set to move to another Highland League club

By Craig Christie

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FORRES Mechanics teenager Joe Gauld is staying at Mosset Park – but another Cans defender is set to join a rival club.

In action against Keith last season, Joe Gauld (right) will sign a new Forres deal while Calum Howarth (left) is set to move. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
In action against Keith last season, Joe Gauld (right) will sign a new Forres deal while Calum Howarth (left) is set to move. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Cans manager Charlie Rowley feared losing 17-year-old former Ross County player Gauld due to a move to university next year.

However, Gauld will study at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon’s university and come home for weekends, and has pledged to pen another Forres deal as a result.

However, any hopes of former Caley Thistle defender Calum Howarth (24) extending his time at Mechanics look forlorn.

It is understood that Nairn County have made a move for the Inverness-based full-back and he has committed to a move to Station Park.

On Howarth’s situation, Rowley said: “From what we’ve heard, I believe Calum has signed for Nairn or has made his mind up to go there.

“We spoke to him on occasions and he made it clear that he felt he would be somewhere else this season, so that seems to have happened.

“He had been on the transfer list and we looked to see if we could recoup some funds, but there was next to no interest from other clubs.

“We’re disappointed but we understand the situation and we will move on from there.”

The Mechanics manager is pleased to retain the services of Gauld, who can play full back or midfield. “He’s agreed on another one-year deal and the paperwork has to get sorted out this week so that’s a bonus for us,” said Rowley.

“He had a few options in terms of his further education at uni so we’re delighted he’s decided to go to Robert Gordon’s which will allow him to play for us again this year.”

Rowley currently has 15 players signed for next season, and says with the Covid-19 lockdown and financial uncertainty surrounding football, he is not yet in the position to negotiate moves for other players.

“It’s really difficult to offer contracts to players given the current situation so there’s not much happening just now because of that.”

Ross County released two players loaned to Forres last season, Australian Declan Hughes and local lad Ruari Fraser, and Rowley would have liked to have signed both on permanent deals.

But Hughes has returned to Australia while Fraser is aiming to find a club higher than Highland League level.

“Hopefully Ruari can get something sorted out at a higher level for his sake but if that proves not to be the case we would obviously be really interested in having him at Mechanics.”

Scott Miller continues to be a signed Forres player. The former Elgin City midfielder was transfer-listed last season due to his offshore work commitments, and Rowley says Miller’s position is unclear but he remains under contract at Mosset Park.

Ryan Farquhar is awaiting the results of a knee scan which will determine whether he needs surgery or can step up his rehabilitation.

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