Cove Rangers manager John Sheran will make some changes to his side for their last Highland League game of the season – but he doesn’t want to see a drop in standards.
The Granite City outfit are at home to Clachnacuddin tomorrow and after the game will be presented with the Highland League championship trophy.
Next weekend, Cove face Lowland League winners East Kilbride in the first leg of the pyramid play-offs with the winner of that tie facing League Two’s bottom side.
With that game on the horizon, Balmoral Stadium boss Sheran is planning to rest some of his regulars against Clach.
But he wants to see the players who come into the side maintain the high standards set by Cove over the course of this season.
Sheran said: “We will make some changes for the game. We’ve got a couple of guys who have got more bookings than we needed to have.
“So, we’ll give them a rest and we’ll be sensible with a few others and keep ourselves as fresh as possible for next weekend.
“It does give people game time and we might need them in the weeks ahead.
“That is one part of it but we have also set a standard this season and we don’t want to fall below what we expect.
“The guys coming in have got to maintain the same standard as the guys that have been playing.
“Everybody is fit, so we’re fortunate in that regard and the players that come in will be asked to perform at a good level.
“It’s also a challenge for the players coming in to match the standards.
“There are players who will be coming in who have a lot of Highland League experience under their belts and it’s a chance for them to show what they can do.”
Clach faced Formartine United on Wednesday night and lost 4-0. Fatigue may be a factor for the men from Inverness, but regardless of that, Sheran is looking for a strong performance to close out a season in which they have conceded only 11 goals in the league and lost just once.
He added: “They had a game on Wednesday night, so there might be a bit of tiredness on their part. From our point of view we’re just looking for a good solid performance to finish the season off in style.”
Being presented with the Highland League trophy for the first time at the Balmoral Stadium will also be special for Cove.
Last season, with the ground under construction, Cove used Inverurie’s Harlaw Park as their home ground and lifted the trophy there.
And in 2016 they were presented with the title away at the Haughs in Turriff.
Sheran hopes the club’s supporters will enjoy seeing the championship presented to them in their new home.
He said: “It is a day we want to enjoy and it’s different to the last couple of times we’ve won the league.
“In 2016, the presentation was away from home against Turriff. Then last year, because of the fixture congestion, it was presented on a midweek night.
“That means you don’t really get the chance to enjoy it so much. It will be good to be at home in front of our fans and enjoy the day with them.
“Last year, with the midweek being the only option for the league to present it, wasn’t ideal.
“This year we’ve got a home game to finish the season off with, which is good.
“It is about the day and giving the fans a chance to enjoy seeing the trophy being presented.
“But the game is also a part of the day and we want to produce a good performance in the game and try to win it.”
Elsewhere, ninth-placed Huntly finish off their season with Wick visiting Christie Park, Keith round off the campaign with a trip to face Moray rivals Rothes, while Buckie Thistle travel to face Strathspey Thistle.