New boss Nisbet aims to bring old heads to Preston

Craig Nisbet admits he simply couldn't turn down the chance to manage Preston. Pic: Jon Savage

Craig Nisbet admits he simply couldn't turn down the chance to manage Preston. Pic: Jon Savage

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New Preston Athletic boss Craig Nisbet is planning to add two or three more experienced players to his ranks as he looks to propel the Panners up the Ferrari Packaging Lowland League table.

Nisbet, a former Preston player, took charge earlier this week and has identified that a few older heads are necessary. But he is excited by the potential he has seen so far in his young squad.

“The hope is to bring in at least two or three,” he revealed. “Technically, the squad’s very, very good. Football-wise they’ve competed pretty well, but there’s just that element of naivety.

“The average age of the squad is 21, 22 and that’s unheard of at this level. We need a couple of older boys just to steady the ship and basically get them through games with minimum fuss.

“I was blown away at times with their passing, movement and technical ability. They just need the calming influence of someone a wee bit older and wiser.

“The potential for growth is pretty decent. A lot of the boys seem to have bought into the team mentality, it’s just a case of harnessing that.”

The former Edinburgh United Alba manager admitted it wasn’t an opportunity he could turn down, and wants to re-establish the Pennypit as a daunting venue for visitors.

“It was a big decision,” said Nisbet. “I’d set up Edinburgh United Alba as a club seven years ago so it was always going to be a bit of a gut-wrencher but it was an opportunity I’d never really get again.

“It’s a club I played with for five years and they gave me my break after under-21s to go and play East of Scotland football, which at the time was probably the highest level you could go on to play without going to play Junior. It took me a couple of minutes to weigh up the pros and cons and that was it.

“You can see how the standard of the Lowland League has elevated purely on the fact that East Kilbride are setting the heather on fire in the Scottish Cup, along with Lothian from the East of Scotland League.

“I’ve got friends that manage at Vale [of Leithen] and Edinburgh City so I kind of know the league without having played or managed in it. It won’t be a shock, but it’s a lot more technical than when it was the East of Scotland.

“There’s nothing that’s going to daunt me. We’re probably in a position where a few wins in the next three or four games and you’re sitting ninth, tenth or mid-table. We just need to focus on the teams ahead of us, one game at a time and try and make Preston at home a tough proposition.

“I want it to be it a bit like the old Preston, where people didn’t really want to come to the Pennypit. They knew they weren’t just up for a battle there was a lot of good football played, but they knew they had to work hard for whatever they got.”

The East Lothian club visit East Peffermill tomorrow to face Edinburgh Uni, and while Nisbet won’t be in the dugout, he’s still expecting certain standards of his players.

“Unfortunately I can’t make Saturday’s game due to prior family commitments so I’m gutted at that. The boys will know what to do though, I briefed them at training on Wednesday as to what I expect against Edinburgh Uni. Chris Flockhart and Ryan McSherry will be assisted by George Thomson as usual, which keeps a bit of continuity.”