After the midweek defeat to Fraserburgh we now turn our attention to a trip to Buckie against the league leaders who have maintained a one hundred percent record thus far.

They’re doing really well right now, there’s a lot of pace and goals in their team as we’ve seen the first nine games they’ve scored 46 goals. Every game in the Highland League is hard and it’s felt like that this season, teams have improved and obviously Buckie have improved significantly over the summer with a good shape about their team and just  few weeks ago they beat the reigning champions Cove Rangers so we know we’ll be in for a tough game.

We thought we’d start to get players back, Blair Johnston came in midweek against Fraserburgh but at the same time we had two drop out from the subs bench. Hopefully over the next month or so we start getting players back; hopefully Martin MacDonald becomes available in the next week or so. Gary (McGowan) is still a couple of months away while Cruicky is a couple of weeks away so it’s just frustrating you’re missing some important players.

Elliot Duff is still away on holiday while Blair Johnston is due to miss out today but we just need to deal with it and go on and we could have one or two back this weekend so we’ll regroup and pull together a team we think can do a job.

One pleasing aspect of the defeat against Fraserburgh was that was another two goals from Robbie (Duncanson), we knew before he was dangerous from a set piece, he’s a good striker of the ball and is confident in front of goal and on Wednesday he was unlucky in open play not to score as he’s got a great shot on him

Buckie have improved significantly over the summer 

Read more: Gray: "Buckie have improved significantly over the summer"

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"

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