Despite bringing in a youthful new-look squad, Dalkeith Thistle boss Kevin Haynes sees no reason why his team can’t be up there challenging for promotion this season.
The former Berwick Rangers striker has had to recruit a whole new team, bringing in 14 players, with the bulk of last season’s squad having earned moves to the Super League.
A small contingent have remained, with mostly youngsters added in what is a fiercely-competitive Premier League this season.
The Jags started the season with a bang, beating St Andrews away from home and drawing with title favourites Tranent, but have since lost their last two games.
“We’re not a club that’s going to spend fortunes on buying players,” said Haynes, whose side host Forfar West End at King’s Park tomorrow.
“I would rather get young lads in and get a good group. They’ve gelled really quickly and become a tight group really quickly. You don’t need 11 good players to win a league, you need a good team and they are turning out to be a good team. I think after Christmas we’re going to be even better once they are used to the league and used to each other.
“Apart from Arniston there’s not been a team that’s outplayed us. We matched Kennoway on Saturday but we had two individual errors which cost us two goals, which I’m kind of expecting from a lot of young lads. They are going to make mistakes, it’s just about how quick they learn after they make them.
“I would still like to go for promotion, I don’t see why we can’t. The squad that we’ve got is good enough, they’ve just got to learn the league very difficult. I think the talent is there, it’s just a case of becoming that team. If you look at the history of the Premier League, whoever puts a run in of eight or nine games after Christmas is thereabouts come the end of the season.”
Haynes has just ten players available for tomorrow’s match with several either on holiday or unavailable. He hopes to have Selkirk defender Dan Greig registered in time and will rely on trialists to fill his bench.