This week’s MOWI Game of the Week sees the first of 6 Lochaber derbies in this year’s Mowi National Division as Kilmallie make the short trip to An Aird to face Fort William. Both sides were relegated from the Premiership last season and will be looking to bounce straight back up. Fort opened the season with a 2-2 draw against Glenurquhart, while Kilmallie are 2 from 2 haivng vanquished both Strathglass and Inveraray. To preview the game, we sat down with Kilmallie player, Calum MacDougall…

It’s been a great start to the season, how do you feel about your team’s current form as you head into the match against Fort William?

We have started this season just as well as we had hoped to. We are in great goalscoring form and it would be great to carry this on in the Fort William fixture.

 What are your thoughts on the rivalry between Kilmallie and Fort William, and how does that affect the players on the pitch?

In my youth, Fort William had always been the stronger team. However, over the last 7 or 8 years we have had the edge over them. We are now pretty evenly matched I feel and this was backed up by us both beating each other away from home last year. Both sets of players are desperate to gain the advantage on the pitch.

How do you prepare mentally and physically for a big game like this one?

Mentally, I try to just focus on what I can do, which is to concentrate on my own game. Physically I like to chill out the night before a game, get my kit together, get a good stretch and a good night’s sleep.

4 goals in 2 games for yourself, what is working in the forward line this year?

We have a good mix of youth and experience in the forward line this year. Personally, I have also benefited from being back fully fit without any lingering injuries.

 What do you think are the main strengths and weaknesses of both Kilmallie and Fort William heading into this match?

I think both teams have a good selection of youth players who are now breaking through in to the senior teams. Backed up by more experienced players, both teams have good squads. It is such a big fixture so early in to the season both teams may look to avoid taking risks.

What new ideas has the Manager brought in?

John Morrison has had us doing a lot of fitness that is really specific to game scenarios since taking on management this season. Personally, I have found this a lot more effective at getting match fit.

 How important is it to you and the team to come away with a win in this local derby, and what would it mean to the Kilmallie community?

It is massive to everyone involved and it always brings a big crowd which is nice to play in front of. It would be brilliant to give ourselves a bit of a gap at the top of the table so early in the season. As well as, most importantly, bragging rights!

Looking for more? Check out this week's Half-Swing Shinty Podcast below or wherever you get your podcasts from!