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Highland League preview: Inverurie Locos and Formartine United take on managerless Keith and Brora Rangers, Banffshire derby as Buckie Thistle clash with Deveronvale


By Craig Christie

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THREE 100 per cent Highland League records will be put to the test this afternoon.

Robbie Allan could be back for Deveronvale.
Robbie Allan could be back for Deveronvale.

Leaders Buckie Thistle take on coast neighbours Deveronvale in front of what should be a bumper crowd at Victoria Park.

Vale assistant manager once captained Buckie to Highland League title glory and knows plenty about the derby atmosphere.

"It’s a great occasion," said Morrison. "I believe it's all-ticket so Buckie are expecting a big crowd and there's always a great atmosphere so I hope we respond to that in a positive manner."

Read more: Pictures from Buckie Thistle's 10-0 win over Keith.

Vale hope to welcome back midfielder Robbie Allan, who missed last weekend's 4-1 defeat against Brechin.

Buckie are on top form right now after their 10-0 win against Keith and a 3-1 SPFL Trust Trophy triumph over Brechin in midweek.

However, boss Graeme Stewart will be happy with any margin of victory if his team comes out on top in the derby.

Buckie boss Graeme Stewart..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

"We are not going to win 10-0 every week, we would happily take a 1-0 against Deveronvale on Saturday," he said.

"The grind-out wins are normally the ones that see you getting success at the end of the season."

Highland League standings
Highland League standings

Brechin have also won three out of three since dropping down from League Two last term, but face their toughest challenge so far in the Highland League when they take on Rothes.

The Speysiders have only played twice in the league thus far and surprisingly dropped points in the 2-2 draw at home to Nairn County last week, so will be eager to return to winning ways.

Fraserburgh are the third club with a perfect record of three wins, and they are Nairn's next opponents today at Station Park.

Today's Highland League fixtures

Brechin City v Rothes

Brora Rangers v Formartine United

Buckie Thistle v Deveronvale

Clachnacuddin v Strathspey Thistle

Fort William v Forres Mechanics (at Forres)

Keith v Inverurie Locos

Lossiemouth v Wick Academy

Nairn County v Fraserburgh

Turriff United v Huntly

Last week's results led to managerial exits, with Keith duo Andy Roddie and Tommy Wilson departing after their ten-goal loss at Buckie.

Tommy Wilson and Andy Roddie quit the Keith management position last week. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Tommy Wilson and Andy Roddie quit the Keith management position last week. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The Kynoch Park club's director of football, Michael Brown takes charge today for the home match against unbeaten Inverurie Locos.

Brora Rangers boss Steven MacKay was a surprise departure following the champions' 6-2 loss at Fraserburgh.

His assistant Craig Campbell has taken over the reins until MacKay's replacement is appointed, and Campbell will boss Brora for their home game against Formartine United this afternoon.

Huntly have made a solid start with two wins and a draw, and will start favourites in their match at Turriff United, who have yet to get off the mark.

Huntly manager Allan Hale is wary of Turriff United's qualities. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Huntly manager Allan Hale is wary of Turriff United's qualities. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

But Huntly manager Allan Hale said: "A lot of teams are still getting up to speed in terms of their fitness and Turriff will be another difficult game.

"Dean (Donaldson) did a great job at Keith and I’m sure he will do the same at Turriff. It’s a game we are going to have to prepare well for during the week and obviously play well to take anything from it."

Huntly, who sold defender Cammy Bowden to Bridge of Don Thistle during the week, will hope striker Angus Grant can do a job on his former club Turriff, who he left to join Huntly in the summer.

Lossiemouth suffered the heartache of a last minute defeat at Huntly last time out, and return to home soil to face a Wick Academy side which has drawn all three games so far.

Martin Charlesworth is on the way back for Lossiemouth. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Martin Charlesworth is on the way back for Lossiemouth. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The Coasters could have experienced striker Martin Charlesworth in the squad for the first time this season.

He trained for the first time this week after being given some parental time off following a second arrival in the Charlesworth household.

Manager Joe Russell said: “He looked sharp last night (Tuesday). He has kept himself fit while he has been away.”

Forres Mechanics got their first win against Strathspey Thistle last week but are struggling for bodies for the visit of Fort William to Mosset Park.

Top scorer Lee Fraser is one of several Forres Mechanics absentees.
Top scorer Lee Fraser is one of several Forres Mechanics absentees.

Lee Fraser, who scored twice in Cans' 4-2 success over Jags, is missing along with twin brother Graham, while Joe Gauld, Gordon McNab, Craig Dorrat, Callum Johnston and Dale Wood are also absent.

Stuart Soane didn't train this week having limped out of the Strathspey win and is a big doubt, but on the plus side for Mechanics, Martin Groat and Paul Brindle return.


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