Rothes and Brora Rangers tests await as Strathspey Thistle resume Highland League campaign
THE Jags are preparing to return to Highland League action with two of their toughest tests of the season.
Thistle's last game was a 2-0 defeat at home to Nairn on January 11. A subsequent trip to Huntly was postponed and the Grantown side then had a free week.
The Jags visit fourth-placed Rothes on Saturday. The following weekend, they are at home to table-toppers Brora.
Jags manager Gordy Nicolson admits his team are facing difficult fixtures: "Our next games are against Rothes and Brora, some nice easy ones!
"Ross Jack has got Rothers going great guns since he came in as manager.
"Brora should win the league. The strength of their squad is frightening. They are more than capable of winning the play-offs and getting into the Scottish League."
Martin Duncan will be suspended for the game at Rothes, having been sent off in the Nairn loss.
The defender missed matches earlier in the season due to a foot problem, but has been a strong performer at the back in recent fixtures.
Nicolson admits Duncan's absence is a blow. "It is frustrating but we will just have to deal with it. It has been a bonus to get him back from injury.
"He was the manager's player of the year last season. He is a good communicator and has a good range of passing.
"He is an important player for us. It would have been handy to have him for the Rothes game."
Meanwhile, Nicolson and assistant manager Tommy Wilson both have deals which expire at the end of this season.
The duo are still to have detailed talks with the Seafield Park hierarchy about new contracts. However, Nicolson insists he is not panicking about the situation.
He said: "My contract is up at the end of this season and Tommy is in the same boat. We will see what the club want to do. I have briefly spoken to them.
"I have been busy making sure we have players here for next season. I am relaxed about the situation."
The Jags won 7-1 in a friendly on Friday evening against Loch Ness. The game was arranged in an effort to keep the players sharp on a weekend where they were without a fixture in the Highland League.