Grantown test for Mechanics in cup
FORRES Mechanics begin their Highland League Cup campaign with a first round trip to Strathspey Thistle.
The Cans will look to continue their good recent form in Grantown, with the tie scheduled for Saturday but the weather forecast not too promising.
Goalkeeper Stuart Knight will return between the sticks after missing the 6-1 win over Huntly last week due to a wedding.
Euan Storrier, who deputised for Knight against the club he is currently loaned out to, returns to Huntly but won't be allowed to play in the cup as part of the loan agreement.
Mechanics thumped Strathspey 7-1 in a league match at Mosset Park in August, with Allan Macphee scoring a hat-trick.
The teams met at the same stage of the competition a year ago at Seafield Park, with Forres winning 5-2.
Scoring twice for the Cans that day was striker Liam Taylor, who has since moved to Strathspey and is their top scorer this season with seven goals.
Manager Charlie Rowley is wary that the Grantown side were 4-1 winners over Clach in the preliminary round of the competition and will be tougher opponents than they were earlier this season.
"They are more than capable on their day," he said. "There won't be any complacency on our behalf."
Ross MacPherson and Jordan Milne have both been handed a one-game suspension beginning on Saturday.
Martin Groat took a knock against Huntly but is expected to be fit to face Strathspey.
Calum Howarth has resumed training and could also return on Saturday while Graham Fraser is back in training having missed the last month due to a groin injury, though Saturday may be too soon for him.
Joe Gauld is also out injured having missed the last three games.
Highland League Cup first round draw
Buckie Thistle v Deveronvale
Formartine United v Inverurie Locos
Fort William v Fraserburgh
Keith v Lossiemouth
Rothes v Nairn County
Strathspey Thistle v Forres mechanics
Turriff United v Brora Rangers
Wick Academy v Huntly
Meanwhile Forres Thistle will aim to continue their perfect start to the north junior division 2 season.
Jags, with six wins out of six in the league, play host to Whitehills who are second bottom of the division with just one win all season.
The Banffshire side did give Forres a scare in their league meeting last month, leading 4-2 before Jags hit back for a 5-4 victory.
The Logie Park men also had to dig deep to defeat hosts Glentanar last week, recovering a 2-0 deficit to win 4-3.
Kick-off at Logie Park tomorrow is 1.30pm.