Success in Inverness derby crucial to Loch Ness manager Carling's hopes of lifting North Caledonian League Division Two title
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Loch Ness are targeting derby success to stay in contention of lifting the Ness Cup.
With the North Caledonian League split into two divisions for one season only, clubs in the second tier are aiming to become the first side to lift the trophy since 2016.
Loch Ness are currently third in the table, within reach of Nairn County A and tomorrow’s opponents, city rivals Inverness Athletic, while Alness United have games in hand that arguably make them favourites.
Manager Shane Carling still has aspirations of finishing top of the pile, but knows that a victory over Athletic at Canal Park tomorrow will be key to their chances.
The opportunity to overtake their rivals in the table only serves to add to Loch Ness’s motivation for the second derby match of the campaign.
“They’re above us in the table at the moment, but it’s a derby,” Carling said.
“The two teams will want to win as much as each other. We’re at home on a great surface, so we shouldn’t have any excuses.
“We just need to go out and make sure we get a result. There are no ifs and buts, we have to win.
“If we want to have a chance of winning the league, we have to keep getting results and hope others drop points, so it’s a must-win.”
Carling will have a selection headache, with his squad desperate to be involved in such an important match.
Inevitably, some players will miss out, but in theory that is a good problem for Carling to have.
“We had Ryan Ingram missing last week through injury from a bad tackle he got against Alness,” Carling said.
“He was back in training at the start of the week, so he should be fine. Rhys Paterson and Mark Kennedy are back from suspension as well, so it’s going to be a hard team to pick this week.
“With it being Inverness, people were saying they were available by Monday – it’s going to be one of those where I’ll have 20 boys available, and I can only pick 16 unfortunately.
“There are going to be quite a few unhappy people, but there’s not much you can do.”