Highland: Formartine out to rein in leaders Cove

Paul Lawson.
Paul Lawson.

Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson says he’s not looking at the Highland League table ahead of their clash with Cove Rangers.

The Pitmedden team return to league action at the Balmoral Stadium tomorrow when they face the champions and table-toppers.

Cove have a 100% record after eight games but, after a promising start, United have 16 points from eight games following defeats to Wick and Forres and a draw with Strathspey.

Formartine and Cove were expected to be two of the main contenders for the title but if United lose they would slip 11 points behind the Granite City team.

Lawson does not want to contemplate defeat and says he is not concerned by the league table at this stage.

He said: “It’s still very early days and it’s not something we want to look at right now.

“The last couple of results haven’t been great for us and I think it’s important on a personal level for each player to perform to the standards we know they can do.

“We firmly believe if they do that we can get a result.”

Last weekend Formartine were in Northern Ireland to play Coleraine in the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup second round.

The North Lodge Park side drew 1-1 with the Irish Cup holders before bowing out on penalties.

Lawson was pleased with that performance and wants to take the positives into the clash with Cove as they look to get back to winning ways in the league.

He added: “It’s very important that we get back to winning ways.

“We said to the boys that, as good as last Saturday was, it’s important we get back to winning in the league and that starts on Saturday.

“We have to approach the game in the right way, take the confidence from Saturday.

“The team performance was the most pleasing aspect and we want to continue that for the rest of the season.

“We expect a tough game against Cove, they are a strong side and on a great run.

“It’s going to be very difficult but we know each other very well and we’ve played each other that often over the last couple of years.

“Every game is a tough game, we believe we are more than capable of getting a result and we need to be positive about it.”

Meanwhile, Cove’s Alan Redford is hoping they can win and make the gap 11 points between them and Formartine at this early stage in the campaign.

He said: “It is a big game. It’s early in the season but if we can win that then we’ve got a free week the following week; that’ll put us in a very good position early on in the season and put a pretty big gap between ourselves and Formartine.”

John Sheran’s team were in action on Wednesday night as they got past Deveronvale in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final, winning 3-1 after extra-time to set up a date with Banks o’ Dee in the final.

Redford, who scored the crucial second goal early in extra-time, says tiredness won’t be a factor for Cove and that they will be ready to go tomorrow.

The defender added: “We’ll try to get as ready as possible for it.

“I only came on as a sub so, from a personal point of view, I’m not worried about playing 120 minutes.

“I’m sure a few of the boys will be a little bit tired but it’s early in the season and it’s not like we’ve played a heap of games.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a factor on Saturday.”

Redford is already looking forward to the Shire Cup final and hopes they can make up for falling at the final hurdle in the last two years, against Buckie Thistle in 2016 and Formartine last term.

He said: “We’ve had a couple of disappointing finals. Not so much the first one against Buckie – we kind of blew up in that one – but we didn’t play very well last year as a team.

“We’ve got another opportunity to put it right. We’re looking forward to it.

“It’ll be a hard game. Banks o’ Dee are obviously flying at the moment so we’re definitely looking forward to that.”