Arbroath keen to avoid twists and turns in the home straight

The years rolled back for Fraser Watts. Picture: SNS.
The years rolled back for Fraser Watts. Picture: SNS.
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Arbroath are out in front heading into the final month of the CSL Eastern Premiership campaign, but there could still be plenty twists and turns over the next four weeks.

Last weekend the Lochlands men defeated Tayside Group Forfarshire to extend their lead at the top with four league matches left, as closest rivals Mazars Grange and Heriot’s were losing to Watsonians and Glenrothes respectively.

Arbroath know that a good final month could clinch the trophy for the first time since 2013 and today they visit Watsonians, whose skipper Ewan Chalmers, his brother Andrew, Olly Brown and Andrew Hislop return, but Andy McKay is missing.

Second-placed Grange are at home to SMRH, an encounter that may come too soon for Dylan Budge, Grange’s injured all-rounder, but they will hope to have him fit for next week’s key meeting with Arbroath.

SMRH make the short trip to Stockbridge in fine fettle having all but secured their place in the top flight for 2018 with a victory last week over Falkland. Euan Campbell, Chris Bissett and Adil Farooq come into the visiting side.

Heriot’s have skipper Keith Morton, the experienced Craig Mackellar and all-rounder Michael Shean back for the derby with Carlton, who travel to Goldenacre off the back of a comprehensive victory at Aberdeenshire.

One of their most experienced players, Fraser Watts, has already played at Goldenacre this week, the former internationalist making a guest appearance for a Scotland Select against a Rest of Scotland XI on Tuesday.

Watts, 38, who won 203 caps before retiring in 2013, said: “It was nice to be involved again with guys who are in and around the national squad, although I was a bit off the pace!

“It was good to catch up with head coach Grant Bradburn and the players and be in that environment again.”

Glenrothes will continue their quest for a top-three finish away at Forfarshire, while Aberdeenshire visit Falkland.