The Shetland senior football team is heading to the mainland for a friendly at the weekend, in preparation for the forthcoming inter-county match in Orkney at the end of the month.
On Saturday the team will take on former Aberdeenshire junior side Formartine United, who have competed in the Highland League for the past seven years.
Formartine, who finished runners-up in last winter’s championship, are expected to provide stiff opposition for the Shetland squad.
Co-manager John Scott Christie, whose recovery from a knee operation will prevent him making the trip, said that not only did they finish second in the Highland League, they were top scorers in the competition with 137 goals.
Shetland have played Formartine a few times, the first occasion being a 2-2 draw at the club’s North Lodge Park in 2004. Michael Johnson and Stuart Smith were the scorers.
Two years later Formartine came to Lerwick and played the county side twice, with Shetland winning the first encounter 7-1. Goals on that occasion came from Alan Duncan (3), Stuart Hay (2), Ryan Grant and an own goal. The following day Formartine fared much better, however, winning 2-0 against an experimental Shetland line-up.
Some influential players are missing from this weekend’s trip for various reasons including injuries, unavailability due to work and Parish Cup commitments.
That list includes captain Leighton Flaws, Erik Peterson, Robert Smith, David Murray, Joel Bradley, Connor Regan and Calvin Leask.
The provisional squad is: Grant Wood (Spurs); Piotr Drowsdowski (Whitedale), Richard Arthur (Whalsay), Charlie Unsworth (Whitedale), Shane Jamieson (unattached), Callum Johnson (Thistle); Finn Watt (Celtic), James Farmer (Ness United), James Aitken (Celtic), Jack Clubb (Celtic), John Allan (Scalloway); Greg Tulloch (Whitedale), Sam Ward (Spurs), Paul Molloy (Spurs).
The final squad for the inter-county against Orkney, scheduled for Saturday 31st July in Kirkwall, is expected to be announced next week.
The Shetland team have also had the opposition confirmed for two forthcoming knockout competitions in the North Caledonian League.
The first round of the Football Times Cup will be against St Duffus on Saturday 10th September. Then at the end of January 2017 Shetland have been drawn against Orkney in the first round of the Jock Mackay Memorial Cup.