Lewis and Harris FC manager Kenny ‘Bugsy’ Smith has made two changes to his matchday squad for the North Caledonian Cup semi-final with two players dropping out from the quarter-final win over Alness.
Substitute goalkeeper Gordy Mackenzie and full-back Gordon Campbell are replaced in the squad by Robert Mackenzie and Gary Macleod.
The changes mean Lewis and Harris FC will take on Invergordon today with just one goalkeeper in the squad - a move Smith admits is a little risky.
“I’ve taken a bit of a risk but I’d like to have five outfield subs available for the match on the bench,” he said.
“I would like Gordy Mackenzie still to travel with the squad to stay involved and I’ve asked Hugh Morrison to do the same and travel with us. He is still very young but Hugh is just about there and I think it’d be good for him to come with us as he has been training well with us and this is the next step for him to edge closer the full squad.
“If we manage to get past Invergordon and into the final then I would put Gordy back on the bench as we would need an extra goalkeeper for the final.”
Having seen off Alness in comprehensive fashion in the previous round few would blame the islanders for crossing the Minch in confident mood for the semi-final but Smith insists they will err on the side of caution and take nothing for granted.
“The feedback I’ve had on Invergordon is they are at a similar level to Alness but I don’t know them personally so I’m not looking at the tie like that,” explained Smith.
“We will have the same approach as we did in the last round and we expect just as difficult a match.
“In the summer with Back FC we beat Carloway in the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup. Next we had to play Harris but everyone was claiming this would be easy for us and they weren’t strong but I didn’t take any of that on board at all. In the end we scraped through a very difficult two legs and we will have the same approach against Invergordon.
Despite the Alness tie being the squads first game together, and a first outing in the dugout for managers Smith and assistant Gordon Greenhowe, the side’s display was hugely encouraging - something Smith says bodes well.
“The boys have been getting along really well as a group and they are gelling together well,” he went on.
“The result in the last tie has helped with that too and that result and performance has given me optimism for this weekend.
“I’m quite excited about it but at the same time I’m realistic and we know it will be difficult but not impossible to improve on that performance and result.
“But at the same time the other side could be we don’t manage to reach the same level again. All 16 players are pretty fit apart from one who has been struggling a little but after a good rest now we hope he will have recovered enough. As far as I’m aware we have no other concerns.”
Lewis and Harris FC play Invergordon at Recreation Grounds, Invergordon, on Saturday, September 26 with a scheduled kick-off time of 1.10pm.
Smith added: “If we perform to the level these players are capable of, as we have real quality in the squad, then we should get the result we are looking for.”
Lewis and Harris FC squad vs Invergordon:
James Macleod; Gary Macleod; Campbell Macdonald; Peter Mackenzie; Johnny Wallace; Scott Macaulay; Elliot Ruddal; Chris Macleod; Ally Macleod; Micheil Smith; James Morrison; Robert Jones; Robert Mackenzie; Ally Macdonald; Jim O’Donnell; Innes Iain Morrison.