Call-offs hinder Whitehill as they aim for fourth

Dale O'Hara
Dale O'Hara
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Whitehill Welfare defender Dale O’Hara believes the club’s lack of game-time is hindering their chances of finishing in the Lowland League’s top four this season.

The Rosewell club have endured the brunt of the bad weather in recent weeks having had three of their last six matches postponed.

Whitehill’s last outing resulted in a 3-1 win over Hawick Royal Albert almost a fortnight ago only for last weekend’s clash at Selkirk to be wiped out due to an unplayable pitch.

At 19, David Bingham’s men have contested the fewest matches in the division and O’Hara says it is imperative they are afforded a run of games if they are to have any chance of breaking into the top four. Whitehill currently occupy seventh spot in the table.

“It’s really difficult at the moment not getting any games on,” the former Hearts youth player explained ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Ochilview to play East Stirlingshire. “It happened to us last season as well so it’s really soul-destroying. We were on a good run at the end of last year and then to have three games called off so far this year is really frustrating, especially when you work all week and on a Saturday morning only to discover the game is off.

“We end up just training instead as early as we can so we can have the rest of the day to ourselves or the gaffer will try and organise a friendly.

“Our aim is to finish fourth. We’ve got a couple of games in hand so we need to make that count. Stirling Uni are currently fifth and are four points ahead of us but we’ve got four games in hand over them.

“Dalbeattie are fourth at the moment and we’ve got six games in hand on them so it’s definitely within our reach. But we need to get playing again regularly as we can’t get any momentum going.”

O’Hara admits it was disappointing to see former boss Steven Hislop depart for East Region Super League outfit Linlithgow Rose in November – Bingham subsequently taking up the manager’s position on a full-time basis having served Hislop as his No.2.

And, O’Hara believes the former Livingston and Dunfermline attacker is already making steady progress.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs this season,” the 23-year-old said. “You get used to one manager and then he leaves but I was with Bingy at Preston a few years ago so I know him well. It was disappointing to see Stevie go but I understood his reasons.

“It’s hard at Whitehill with the committee sometimes but I was pleased Davie took up the post full-time as he’s a good manager and knows the game inside out.

“We’ve got a really young squad at the moment but the young guys at the club have certainly got the potential to have a real impact. It’s about blending that with the experienced ones in the team like Stevie Manson and Michael Osborne. We’re trying to build a solid foundation here so we can launch a challenge next season.

“Tomorrow will be a hard game. East Stirlingshire handed us a heavy defeat at the start of the season so we’ll be looking to make amends. They’re a decent side having just dropped down from the SPFL so we’re expecting a tough challenge.”

Elsewhere, Edinburgh University will look to build on last weekend’s precious win over Cumbernauld Colts but face an arduous task at league leaders East Kilbride. The students are now nine points better off than bottom side Preston Athletic who are also on their travels this weekend as they visit Vale of Leithen.

Spartans will look to atone for their home defeat by Stirling University six days ago when they head for the Borders to play hosts Gretna 2008 and Civil Service Strollers are at Hawick Royal Albert.