Tonight is a big test when we go up against the reigning champions Cove Rangers. The next four or five games are tough but with the quality we’ve taken to the club we should be able to go to Inverurie and give them a game. If we go with the same energy and desire we showed on Saturday we’ll give them a tough game.

Cove have had a quite a run of game so far, they’ve played ten in all competitions but they’re a good team and they’ve experienced players who know how to do their job and they’ve always been at the top end of the table the last few years and they know what it takes to stay at the top of the league.

We should have a few players back by midweek and we could mix it up but we’ve options in the squad having changed the system on Saturday and that was working for us and that’s the reason we only made the one substitution – no disrespect to the guys on the bench we didn’t want to change the shape as the team were doing well but we’ll have a look at the game on Wednesday and see if a change of system is required.

Stuart Hodge was unlucky, he played well at Turriff but we thought against Lossie we needed that bit of pace and physicality from Ian Cruickshank up top.  Speaking of different options, you could see that with Cruicky, he started in a front three then finished in midfield and that was after playing at centre half at Turriff. His energy and enthusiasm is great for the team and he can play when he’s on the ball. 

Read more: This Is The Start of A Tough Run Of Games

Tonight we go into an Aberdeenshire Cup tie against Turriff United and over the last couple of years it’s a competition I’ve enjoyed albeit with Banks O’ dee against Huntly.

We’re certainly looking forward to the game and it’s a chance to get a place in a semi-final but we’re all geared up for the first of a double header against Ross Jack’s side.

It’s going to be a tough game but they all are when you start the new season but you wouldn’t want it any other way.

They may have suffered two league defeats but we won’t read too much into that – they’ve quality players and we know full well what ability David Booth has up front. They’ve also got experience guys like Paul Young and Cammy Bowden so we know we’re in for a tough game.

We’ll have another couple of players available for this one. Ian Cruickshank and Robert Duncanson are free of suspension. Alexander Thoirs unfortunately headed away on Monday offshore but we’ll adjust and pick a team which we think is good enough to beat Turriff.

Read more: We Know We're In For A Tough Game

It’s one week late but we’re all glad to play our first game of the season as we welcome Rothes. It’ll be good to get in and get some games played. Obviously we’ve had some new players come in over the last couple of weeks and will take a couple of weeks before they start gelling together as is normal with a number of changes.

Going back over the last few seasons we’ve never know quite what to expect against Rothes, they’ve proved difficult at times and have shocked us in the past. I know Fraser Bremner and Nathan Sharp have been busy over the summer with a number of new players being taken in so it’s hard to know what we’ll be up against. This is a game which could go either way and it’s all about which team is up for it more on the day and it’s important our players know that going forward.

We’ve made a number of changes to the squad over the summer and it’s important those watching us show a bit of patience, it does take time for new players to gel with existing ones and that’s evident today as Unfortunately we’ll have some players missing today with Ross Still, Robbie Duncanson and Ian Cruickshank all suspended. We’re always on the lookout for new faces and if we can continue to add to the side then we will if we find a player who Doug and I feel is the right fit and one which will add some quality.

Enjoy the game

Mark Gray

Read more: "Fans Will have To Be Patient"

Today we go into our last home game of the season with the first of two upcoming games with Fort William. We’ve not beaten Fort over the last three games with two draws at Claggan Park and a defeat here last season.…

Read more: "Last time we beat Fort William I was playing"

Tomorrow we go up against our old Assistant Manager Steve Dolan when we travel to Banff to face Deveronvale.

They were on the end of a four-nil home defeat to Keith last week. Dippy will want to bounce back from that defeat and make it hard for us and we’ll be looking to do the exact same following our loss to Formartine. He’ll be seeing it as a chance to gain points as are we.

In terms of league positions, they’re two places above us, the performances over the last four months from ourselves have been good and as we go along we seem to have the odd blip and we could say that about Saturday’s defeat at Formartine.

We should now have Murray McCulloch fully fit coming back into this game, we didn’t want to risk him last week. He was happy to go on the bench and go through the warm-up so hopefully he’s showing no signs of injury to come into the squad. Alexander Thoirs will be back too so that could give us another couple of options and hopefully Ian Cruickshank is fit.

We’ve had Connor Brian back into the team over the last two games and he’s benefited from having regular football this season on loan to Rothes.  We were discussing on the bench on Saturday how he came through the first half with pass marks and did well. He was up against a good player in Scott Barbour and handled him well. You could see when he came off the bench at Brora last midweek he looked very composed and we’ve been happy with his since he returned to the club.

From a year ago to now you can see the improvement from his debut almost a year ago at Buckie. The loan had done him the world of good playing football every week and he’s gained experience from that playing in the Highland League. It’ll have helped Rothes but at the same time it helped us.

Read more: Vale and Ourselves Will Both Be Looking To Bounce Back

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