DANNY Conlon hopes that finally returning to Highland League action can only help bring the best in his Fort William players this New Year.
Saturday saw Clach beat Fort 4-0 at Grant Street in Inverness as goals from Struan-Scott Woodhouse, Scott Graham, Colin Williamson and Alan Pollock left the weakened visitors floored, despite a second half red card for Lilywhites' Bruce Milne.
With heavy downpours in Fort William earlier this week, the Claggan Park club's manager hopes that the forecast of an improvement in time for Saturday's visit of Clach becomes a reality and the game gets the green light.
Fort were down to the bare bones against Clach, but Conlon thanked two of his players for answering his SOS call.
He told the LN: "Everything ahead of the Clach game seemed to be working against us. Not only had we not kicked a ball in almost a month, but we were struggling for numbers for a variety of reasons.
"We had booked accommodation for our goalkeeper Iain MacLeod who was visiting family in Lewis, but because of the gales he could not travel. In came keeper Robert Lewandowski, who hadn't played all season, and Graham Bamber, who had not played since July. We were grateful to both these players for coming in and helping.
"I have no complaints about the result. As the game went on, tiredness took its toll. Despite the result, I think for the team to have finally got 90 minutes under their belts will have done them no harm at all.
"Due to the lack of facilities, we've not trained much, so nothing beats having that game. We had spells in the game that were encouraging and we forced (Clach and former Fort William keeper) John Campbell into three good saves.
"That said, Clach were strong and they are up third in the table on merit. They look pretty strong in most areas, but we were happy to have caused them a few problems."
Conlon added that the club were satisfied that they and Clach played for the Simon Shields Memorial Trophy on Saturday in memory of the former player of both clubs who lost his battle for cancer in the summer of 2011.
This Saturday's scheduled visitors Keith are now at the forefront of Conlon's mind.
Keith's 2-0 win at home to Huntly last weekend saw them move up to mid-table and the 23-point mark.
The boss said: "After an inconsistent start, Keith have really picked up and this will be a tough one. The weather is meant to be sunnier this weekend, so fingers crossed we'll have another game."
Darren Quigg should return from suspension this weekend, while keeper Iain MacLeod and Farquhar MacLeod could also bolster Conlon's squad.