Awkward opener for United

Formartine United's North Lodge Park playing surface has undergone major drainage work in preparation for the new season.
Formartine United's North Lodge Park playing surface has undergone major drainage work in preparation for the new season.
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Formartine United face a tough opening fixture in the new Highland League season which gets under way in early August.

The Pitmedden side travel to Nairn County for the first match on Saturday, August 2.

County finished third in the table last season with Formartine fourth. United then face another tricky game on the following Wednesday when they go to Keith. Their first home match is on the Saturday when they line up against Rothes.

Champions Brora Rangers open their season at home to Huntly before facing a trip to Forres Mechanics on the Wednesday night. They follow this up on the Saturday away to Deveronvale.

Meanwhile, last season’s runners-up Inverurie Locos open their account away to Rothes, with another trip on the Wednesday, this time to Nairn.

Their first home fixture is against Strathspey Thistle on Saturday, August 9.

Meanwhile, as a summer of signing activity continues, Formartine have snapped up Brechin City captain and central defender Graham Hay on a two-year deal. Hay is seen as an ideal central defensive partner for Craig McKeown. Forward Dan Park looks set to leave and is expected to rejoin his former club Cove Rangers. North Lodge Park has been undergoing extensive improvements in preparation for the new season. The playing surface has been completely transformed with the installation of a new drainage system and grass has now been planted.

In addition to the improvements to the playing surface, the spectator area at the road side of North Lodge has seen the turf removed and replaced with hardcore and blinding in an effort to make underfoot conditions better for fans. Plans are currently being drawn up to increase the seating capacity and upgrade 
the floodlights.