COVE Rangers will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Connor Scully for tonight's Breedon Highland League clash with Deveronvale at Balmoral Stadium.
The 25-year-old missed Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup defeat by Auchinleck Talbot in Ayrshire because he had to stay at home incase his pregnant partner' Connie, went into labour.
It could be argued Scully has been Cove's most outstanding performer this season, so manager John Sheran is delighted to have him back in his plans.
"Connor has certainly been our most consistent player this season," said John, who is also hopeful that former Peterhead midfielder Ryan Strachan, who has been sidelined by injury for the last few weeks,  will be able to feature against Vale.
"He's always been a player who has worked hard but Connor has taken his game up a level this term.
"Asking him to play in a more central position has helped.
"When Connor plays wide he doesn't get enough of the ball and often drifts in and out of games.
"But he's clearly relishing being right in the heart of things and I've been delighted with what Connor has given us so far.
"As is the case with any player though, it means there is pressure on Connor to keep playing well when he is picked.
"He has set high standards so it's only right for us to want to see that maintained."
Ryan, 27, was able to train with the first team squad at Balmoral on Monday night.
John said: "Ryan looked good in the training session, it was great to have him back involved
"He's an important player for us so it will be good to get him back in the mix as we head into a very tough run of games."
That run starts with this evening's meeting with Vale, who took Cove to extra-time earlier in the season in their Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup tie up at Banff.
John said: "The league results last weekend meant we didn't lose any ground, which was good.
"But, as I've always said, our league chances will stand or fall by what we do out on the pitch.
"Vale made it very tough for us up at Banff and I'm expecting this evening's game to be just as hard.
"I'm hoping we can do enough to earn the three points to give us a boost ahead of what will be an equally tough test up at Wick at the weekend."