Brown on board for Rothes' top-of-the-table Highland League clash with Brora Rangers
ROTHES will have new loan signing Jack Brown in place for today's top-of-the-table Highland League clash.
The Speysiders, currently third in the table, play host to leaders and title favourites Brora Rangers at MacKessack Park.
Manager Ross Jack is defending an unbeaten start to his Rothes reign, and this week made his first signing for the club.
He took in 18-year-old Caley Thistle midfielder Brown, who had been farmed out to Fort William along with eight other ICT youngsters in the first half of the campaign.
Brown scored twice for Fort William at MacKessack park in a shock 5-1 win over Rothes in the North of Scotland Cup earlier this season.
He made his ICT first team debut as a 16-year-old in a Championship match at Falkirk, and is highly rated by Caley manager John Robertson.
“We managed to get one over the line and it’s off to Glasgow for approval," said the Rothes boss. "Jack will be available for selection for us on Saturday.
“He’s one of the lads that was on loan at Fort William. He’s a quality player so I’m delighted to get him in. He can play anywhere along the midfield so it was an area where we needed bodies in, and I’m sure he will settle in fine.”
Brora needed a last minute goal to defeat Rothes at Dudgeon Park earlier this season, and will need to be at their best to overcome a home side who have won nine and drawn one of their last ten league outings.
League table P W D L F A Pts
Brora Rangers 19 17 0 2 73 8 51
Inverurie Locos 21 15 1 5 64 29 46
Rothes 18 14 2 2 45 12 44
Fraserburgh 17 13 3 1 56 17 42
Buckie Thistle 18 13 0 5 46 27 39
Nairn County 19 11 3 5 36 31 36
Forres Mechanics 22 9 3 10 55 43 30
Formartine Utd 16 9 2 5 38 16 29
Wick Academy 22 8 5 9 35 41 29
Keith 20 8 4 8 40 51 28
Deveronvale 21 8 3 10 31 39 27
Huntly 21 4 5 12 27 55 17
Strathspey Thistle 17 5 1 11 23 39 16
Clachnacuddin 21 3 4 14 21 46 13
Turriff United 21 3 3 15 27 71 12
Lossiemouth 21 3 1 17 15 66 10
Fort William 14 1 0 13 12 53 3
While MacKessack Park hosts the Highland League match of the day, the third Banffshire derby of the season between Buckie Thistle and Deveronvale promises to be a cracker.
Jags needed a late penalty to see off Clach at Victoria Park last week while Vale saw a five-game unbeaten run ended by a 2-1 loss to Rothes.
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart said: “They are so fit and strong that sometimes they can outrun you, so we know it is going to be a very difficult game.”
Colin Charlesworth could be struggling to play for Vale due to a hamstring strain while Grant Noble is on the brink of a comeback from injury.
But former Buckie man Robert Scott is still missing due to a knee problem for the Banff outfit.
Vale will have Courtney Cooper back from offshore duties while Kyle Willox has served a one-game ban and also returns.
“Buckie knocked us out with a last minute goal in the cup and it was an early goal that was the only goal of the game in the league match at Banff,” said manager Steve Dolan.
“We could have got something from both games, but we were on the wrong side of narrow defeats like we were on Saturday.
Keith and Lossiemouth both return to action after their Moray derby at Kynoch Park was called off last week.
Keith visit Nairn County and manager Dean Donaldson said: “A lot of people say that Nairn are punching above their weight but I don’t see it like that.
“They are a very good young side and only going to get better.
“We are a good young side, but have to take it game by game and not get too far ahead of ourselves. We are probably punching above our weight at the moment.”
Lossie face a tough trip to Fraserburgh, where they lost 10-0 last season.
The Buchan title chasers also won 7-0 at Lossie last season and 3-0 this term, and are firm favourites to see off the Coasters once again.
Lossie manager Joe Russell released striker Kris Duncan last week and has loaned keeper Trevor Dear and attacker Baylee Campbell to Dufftown for a month.
Forres Mechanics make the long trip north to Wick, looking for their first victory since November 20.
A draw and four defeats in their last five games have left the Cans eager to regain a winning habit.
Boss Charlie Rowley has placed defender Calum Howarth on the transfer list at the player's request.
Huntly host Strathspey Thistle looking to end a run of seven games without a win.
The Black and Golds did pull off a fine 1-1 draw at Inverurie Locos last week, stopping a sequence of six consecutive losses.
Formartine United are at home to Turriff United in the day's other league match.