From the February edition of The Albion magazine
Naturally there is a bit of a buzz around the club following our result against Montrose – a result which was earned on the back of a fantastic team performance.
It does, however, give us nothing more than another three points toward a total we hope will be good enough to win the league, or at the very least see us finish in a play-off position. As we continue in our quest to finish top of the pile we face some stern tests of our credentials this month.
Fixtures against Berwick Rangers and Clyde at Forthbank as well as East Fife & Annan away from home ensure that every point will have to be earned. The four games will present a challenge for us but at the same time offer up valuable opportunities. With the form of individuals and the team, combined with the return to fitness of some key players, we will go into these games in a very positive frame of mind.
Adding to the general feeling of positivity at the club is the progression of the U20 team and the individual players involved. We have already seen David Verlaque emerge from that group, play very well for the first team, and earn himself a professional contract.
Moses Olanrewaju has also seen first-team action in recent games and, if he continues to work hard and apply himself, further opportunities will come his way. These are just two examples of what we have, and are continuing to develop, at the club.
The U20s, as many of you will have observed, have turned in performances and gained results good enough to be top of the Development League East. Whilst this is not the primary objective (just so we are clear the progression of players to the first team is the No 1 aim) it is a very positive sign things are being done extremely well.
There has been a consistently high level of performance from some individuals as well as significant improvement from others. A number of the squad are on loan with Junior or Lowland League teams to further their development with regular competitive games in men’s football.
Indeed, Scott Stevenson had perhaps the most memorable experience of any player at the club this season as he was a part of the East Kilbride team that played so well against Celtic in the Scottish Cup recently. It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the work of Andy Todd and Ross Forsyth with this group of players.
I’m also pleased to report that a very high calibre of player is emerging from the younger age groups within the club. Recently I have been working with Mark Wood and the U17 coaches to familiarise myself with the players in that age group – particularly those who are looking to make the next big step on their journey and become a part of next season’s U20s.
I’m very excited about the potential in that group of players and I know that a healthy number will make that transition successfully in the coming months.
Whilst I’m on this topic I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Mark, Stewart Taylor, and all the coaching and support staff for the terrific work they are doing with the Youth Development Squads.
To summarise, we have not yet achieved anything of significance but, thanks to the sterling work of players, staff, and volunteers, not only are we heading in the right direction but we are picking up speed as well. The future is bright.
Thanks for your support.