Published: 08/09/2017 10:00 - Updated: 07/09/2017 12:21

Fraser Heath hands Glenurquhart timely boost ahead of relegation clash

Written byDave Calder

Fraser Heath returns to the fold for Glenurquhart tomorrow. Picture: Neil Paterson.
Fraser Heath returns to the fold for Glenurquhart tomorrow. Picture: Neil Paterson.

 

GLENURQUHART have been given a timely boost ahead of their crucial Marine Harvest relegation showdown with Glasgow Mid Argyll tomorrow with the news that Fraser Heath is available.

The international midfielder stunned Glen supporters in July when he confirmed of his imminent departure to join the Royal Marines.

However, matters have not moved as quickly as anticipated on that front and Heath has spoken to manager Iain MacLeod confirming that he can play in their final two matches in the Premiership.

“The importance of winning against Mid Argyll cannot be overestimated,” said MacLeod after a midweek training session.

“We are approaching the match like it was a cup tie – it is possibly the most important game of our season.

“Mid Argyll may be bottom of the table, but they are a decent outfit and we only drew with them in Glasgow earlier in the season. We will need to be at our very best to take something from the match, but I am pretty confident the lads will rise to the occasion.”

MacLeod added: “Having Fraser available again has lifted the squad and the two-week break has given a few others a chance to shake off niggling injuries. The young lads who have come in and helped us over the last few weeks have done a great job, but experience will be a major factor in such an important match”.

MacLeod also revealed that Dave Smart, a former Scotland international, is also back in the frame after a year-long absence as he recovered from a leg-break injury.

Add in the news that Eddie Tembo and Andy Corrigan, also both with Scotland caps, are set to return then it is not difficult to detect a distinctly upbeat mood in the Glen camp.

“Morale is as high as at any time in the season,” added MacLeod.

”We have trained well during the break and I feel everyone is in good heart.

“The boys know what is required – although two points does not make us safe it would send us up to Kinlochshiel for the final game in good heart.”

A win would do Iain MacLeod's side the power of good. Picture: Neil Paterson.
A win would do Iain MacLeod's side the power of good. Picture: Neil Paterson.

 

John Barr, who is suspended tomorrow, would be available to face ‘Shiel, but maximum points from the Mid Argyll match would see Glen leapfrog Lochaber by a point with the Spean Bridge side set to meet Newtonmore in their final match later in the season.

The Glasgow side are bottom on the five-point mark with Kilmallie are two points above them but with a game more played.

Weather permitting tomorrow promises to be a pivotal day in both the Premiership and the National Division.

The three challengers for the Premiership title each face crucial matches with two – Newtonmore and Kinlochshiel – meeting at the Eilan.

Newtonmore’s seven-year reign as champions would be all but over if they lose against the Wester Ross side, while ‘Shiel face the most difficult examination of their quest for a first ever Premiership title.

Newtonmore's Steven Macdonald opens the scoring.
Newtonmore need to win to keep their title hopes alive. Picture: Neil Paterson.

 

The start time of this match has been switched to noon.

Meanwhile at Balgate, Lovat look to extend their fine run of form as they face league leaders Kyles Athletic in a 1.30pm throw-up.

Kyles are also in scintillating form, scoring 20 goals in their last three matches, which included seven-goal batterings of Newtonmore and Glenurquhart. The final fixture sees Oban Camanmachd face third-placed Kingussie at Mossfield.

In the Marine Harvest National Division, champions-elect Skye entertain Caberfeidh in Portree with the visitors chasing the second promotion spot.

Their seemingly serene progress has been rudely interrupted by two defeats in their last three matches and defeat tomorrow would open the door for Fort William, currently in third place.

Fort are visiting Inverness as the Bught Park side play their final home match of the 2017 season.

In the area leagues, it is top versus bottom as Newtonmore entertain Beauly at the Eilan, with the Greens looking increasingly resigned to a relegation to Marine Harvest North Division Two.

Glenurquhart, a place above Beauly, head west to face Kinlochshiel with two points all but securing their stay in the top area league.

There is a full programme in North Division Two and Inverness will look to put their recent team raising difficulties behind them when they face Lochcarron at the Bught.

In other matches, Strathglass are home to Kilmallie, while Boleskine look to put points on the board as they face Strathspey at Smith Park.

In the match of the day in this division, the top of the table clash sees Glengarry make the short journey to Spean Bridge to face title rivals Lochaber.

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