Aberdeen Grammar will be more than a little anxious about winning tomorrow’s Premiership game at Rubislaw against Selkirk.
Their next home match is not until January 11 – a gap of five weeks on which to ponder their run of poor form.
The game against the Borderers is a vital one, as they are locked on 28 points with the visitors, and their neighbours Hawick, making it a “must-win” before taking on Jed-Forest the following week and then having a three-week festive break.
Coach Ali O’Connor is mindful of the significance of the game but said: “We did lots of good things last week, but didn’t manage the breakdowns too well.
“We also went to sleep at a vital time just before half-time.
“We have already beaten Selkirk at their place, and I am sure we have it in us to go into the game with enough confidence to repeat the feat.”
O’Connor will also have a near full-strength squad after the chopping and changing of personnel over recent weeks, which has not helped the Grammar cause.
Meanwhile, Gordonians have a home game in National League 2 which will give them the opportunity to pull away from the relegation area while pulling Preston Lodge, their opponents, into the dropping zone.
Head coach Ryan Morrice was happy not to have had a game last week, particularly as the called-off match was in the Borders where they were scheduled to play Peebles.
“A week off gave us the chance to regroup and better assess our resources,” said Morrice.
“But we are now raring to go, fully recognising just how important this game is, and one we have targeted as a ‘must-win’.
In the Caledonia game, the day is given over to the finals of the Regional Shield and Bowl.
All four participants will be eyeing early-season silverware and, further ahead, the possibility of a game at Murrayfield in the national finals in April.
In the Shield, Orkney will be strong favourites to beat Dunfermline in Kirkwall after having beaten the Fifers on their own ground in Caley Division 1, two weeks ago, by the comfortable margin of 27-5.
The outcome of the Regional Bowl is more difficult to forecast, particularly as Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen University have both been to Murrayfield finals and will be ultra keen to make early returns to HQ.
Barny Henderson, the Shire head coach, agreed it was a hard one to call but said: “We have not enjoyed the best of form in Caley 2 North, whereas in the Bowl we have been very impressive.
“But it’s a huge game for both sides.
“We have home advantage which might just be the difference.
“We also won in the league last week for the first time since September 14, so all the pointers are good.”