Newton check on Highland rivals

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NEWTON Stewart have been busy planning for their long road trip next Saturday to take on Highland League side Huntly in the first round of the Scottish Cup.

Newton Stewart have started making as thorough preparations as possible for the trek north in two weeks.

Player-manager Davy Hyslop took time out last weekend to travel up to the Aberdeenshire town to watch the home side play against Strathspey Thistle on Friday night.

The manager was quite impressed by the facilities that the club have and by the way the team played in their 2-0 victory. However he was far from dismayed after watching his opponents and feels that the journey was well worth making as he has now familiarised himself with the opposition and the surroundings ahead of his team’s visit.

Hyslop said: “It was good to have a look at them in a competitive match and it is fair to say they are a good team with one or two quite good strong players.

“In the past we haven’t bothered looking at our opponents before matches and have found ourselves chasing the game before we settle. I’m not saying that can’t happen again but, by seeing how they play, it gives us a wee bit of foresight.

“I’ll be speaking to the boys about what they’re like and hopefully it will inspire a wee bit of confidence. Without predicting the outcome, we will just go up there and do our best.”

The Creesiders cup preparations, however, are being hampered by a series of long-term injuries to key players. although those who have come in to fill the gaps have not let the team down and will be looking to impress in the cup tie.

Hyslop believes that the team will miss the drive and determination of skipper Johnny Fisher, who misses out after receiving a red card in last season’s defeat against Preston Athletic.

Club secretary John McNaught said: “Obviously I have spoken to Davy after his visit up north and he has told me that Johnny will be missed in midfield as he feels having watched Huntly that Fisher could have done a good job going through the middle.

“However, we will just have to get on with it and we do have other players who can play the same role, and I’m sure Davy will have it right on the day.

“Now that the bus and the hotel are booked up, we are all looking forward to the trip.

“And although it’s a long haul, we are just pleased to be playing in the Scottish Cup again as every year adds another bit of history to Newton Stewart Football Club.”

A busy time is ahead for the club, and a group of 21 players and officials will leave on the afternoon of Friday, September 23, and stay overnight at a hotel in the Aberdeen area before travelling to the match on Saturday morning, and then travelling all the way back home after the game.