FORRES Mechanics will lose top goalscorer Scott Lawrie for a month as they push to get their flagging title defence back on track.
But with Ross Archibald and Duncan Jones both joining the Cans this week, and injured stars set to return at Keith this weekend, a brighter picture is being painted for manager Charlie Rowley.
RAF serviceman Lawrie will be stationed away from home in February for around four weeks, and Mechanics will miss the talents of a front man who has scored 12 goals in his debut Highland League season.
It is a situation Rowley has encountered before, when he lost fellow airman Garry Tweedie for spells during last year’s title-winning campaign.
“It’s not unexpected given his job,” Rowley said. “It looks like he’s away in the second or third week of February for a month.”
Former Aberdeen midfielder Jones penned a deal until the end of the season after a recent trial appearance, and he also comes into contention for a place at Kynoch Park this weekend.
The policeman will aim to switch shifts around to give Mechanics as much of his game time as possible, and if things work out between the parties a longer deal could be on the table.
Mosset Park was strangely the only Highland League ground to be declared unplayable last Saturday, leading to the postponement of their home game against Clach.
Club officials had repaired drainage on a section of the pitch but it has now emerged that a second area on the opposite half is clogging up, and this caused the match to be called off.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for the Cans, who would have been without key players Kyle Scott and Ross MacPherson and had midfielder Martin McMullan struggling to be fit.
All three should be fine for the visit to bogey team Keith, who have claimed a string of wins against Forres in recent years.