COVE BOSS JOHN HOPING STRENGTH IN NUMBERS WILL BE AN ASSET DURING FINAL WEEKS OF HIGHLAND CAMPAIGN
FIGHTING FIT: Grant Campbell is back in the Cove Rangers side after close to year out injured.
COVE Rangers manager John Sheran admits he's delighted to have a virtually full strength squad to choose from as the race for the Breedon Highland League title heads towards the finishing line.
Cove are away to nearest challengers Brora Rangers this weekend and John accepts the match is likely to be the toughest they will face in the entire campaign.
He's taking comfort from the fact they are at least heading north with all of their main players fit, including Sam Burnett and Grant Campbell, who are finally back involved after close to a year on the sidelines because of serious knee injuries.
"It's the sort of pleasing headache every manager is happy to have," said John.
"Strong competition for places tends to have a positive impact on performances, even more so at this stage.
"Everyone wants to play in the big games and we certainly have enough of those coming up.
"But those who do make the team know there are quality players on the bench, and others who maybe haven't made it that far, desperate for the chance to step in if standards drop.
"Better that than how we were going into the final weeks of last season.
"A lot of the time we were having to patch players up to put out a team and there were occasions when we could only list three substitutes because we had so many injuries."
Cove's armoury was increased further last weekend when former Ross County and Hibs attacker Jimmy Scott was signed up for the rest of the season.
The 33-year-old impressed when he made his debut, off the bench, in the 3-1 victory over Wick Academy in the semis of the Highland League Cup.
John said: "That's an added boost at this stage.
"Jimmy is physically bigger than some of the guys we already have and can play in a number of different positions.
"It's good to have a bit of added cover in the middle of the park or further forward, which is where we played Jimmy against Wick.
"He showed some nice touches and I'm sure Jimmy will do even better once he has a few more games under his belt."
John is also pleased to be facing Brora on the back of what was well earned victory over Wick.
"I thought we were excellent in the first hour," he said.
"We dropped off the pace a little after that, but there is no doubt that we deserved to win.
"Facing Brora at their place is a totally different type of challenge...but it's one I'm confident we will be ready for."
ADDED COMPETITION: Jimmy Scott has joined Cove Rangers for the rest of the season.