COVE BOSS JOHN KNOWS TALBOT WILL BE A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK IN SCOTTISH CUP
COVE Rangers manager John Sheran has warned his players they better be ready to scrap for the right to remain in the William Hill Scottish Cup beyond this weekend.
Cove face top Ayrshire Junior side Achinleck Talbot in the second round at Balmoral Stadium on Saturday, 3pm.
Talbot, the current holders of the Scottish Junior Cup, have already beaten Wick Academy 2-1 away in this season's competition - and also knocked out leading Aberdeen Junior side Banks o'Dee.
John knows his men are going to have to dig deep for the right to go as far as they did last season, when Cove were beaten by Championship side Falkirk and denied a quarter final crack at Glasgow Rangers.
"We are under no illusions about hard a tie this will be for us," said John.
"Our opponents have a great record in this competition.
"They also beat Lesmahagow 6-1 on Sunday in a cup final to ensure they will come north with confidence high.
"They are a strong, physical side, with a lot of very experienced players, who have played in a lot of big games over the years.
"It means we are expecting a really tough game and will certainly need to be at our very, very, best if we hope to remain in this competition."
John is hopeful that former Peterhead player Ryan Strachan will be fit to return from injury for the tie and has no fresh injury worries, although defender Harry Milne has to serve a suspension carried over from last season.
Cove also go into the tie with confidence flying after making it 11 straight Breedon Highland League wins a row by beating Lossiemouth 4-0 at the weekend.
John said: "I was pleased we were able to give some of the players who haven't featured so regularly recently some game time.
"It means their fitness levels will be up a bit if they are required again this weekend.
"I was also very happy with our performance.
"It's sometimes difficult to create chances when you are up against teams who have come to sit in.
"But we created a lot of good chances, I can't criticise anyone on that front.
"The strikers were certainly hitting the target, but they were constantly denied by the Lossie keeper, who made an unbelievable amount of top class saves.
"On a different day we could have won by a lot more, but we got the result we wanted and that's all that mattered."