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Highland coach expecting more from Stewart's Melville

By Andrew Henderson

Dave Carson expects Stewart’s Melville to put up a much stronger fight on their own turf tomorrow.

It is a match that sees two teams in the hunt for a promotion place go head to head.

Gordon Gregor has given his all for Highland this season. Picture: Gair Fraser
Gordon Gregor has given his all for Highland this season. Picture: Gair Fraser

Last time, Highland had the upper hand at Canal Park, winning 36-5.

But Melville have gone on a good run since then, and down in Edinburgh head coach Carson thinks it will be a far tougher task.

“To be honest I thought they were very poor up in Inverness,” he recalled.

“It didn’t seem to be much of a game, we beat them 36-5 and they didn’t seem to threaten much.

“But I think they’ve hardly lost a game since then.

“They’ve only lost one more game than us, they’re obviously a good side.

“They’ve been travelling home and away and winning games, so maybe it was just an off-day when they came up to us.

“On their home patch I would expect a pretty physical battle I would imagine.”

That physical battle is one that Highland have been used to this season in National Two.

But in 2019 their defence has coped admirably, something that gives Carson confidence that Highland can win any match.

“We’ve had a really good defence this year, and it’s gotten better and better since Christmas,” Carson said.

“If people want to have a go at us we’re quite happy, eventually our defence will force them into an error which we can pick up on and get a good, quick counter attack going.

“We’ve worked really hard, and the boys are totally committed to it. We haven’t conceded many points at all since Christmas.

“We had 12 in one game against Biggar, then we were down and it was 10 against Dumfries. Every other team scored one try against us, and we’ve scored a barrel load.

“They take as much out of that I think, if we get a good defensive set going for five or six minutes when the opposition have got the ball and they don’t get anywhere with it, it’s a huge lift for the whole side.

“The likes of Gordon Gregor put in big tackles and it just lifts the whole side.”

The only injury concern that needed assessment in training this week was Iain Chisholm.

Chisholm suffered a foot injury against Whitecraigs last month which ruled him out of Highland’s last match.

Carson had been hopeful that he would be fit to return in time to face Stewart’s Melville.

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