Danny Jardine optimistic that new-look Edinburgh City will be a force again
Although conceding it was a blow to see last season's Edinburgh City squad dismantled, versatile midfielder Danny Jardine is delighted with the personnel snapped up by boss Gary Naysmith.
Wholesale changes were made at the Citizens during the close season with the likes of goalkeeper Calum Antell, Craig Thomson, Liam Brown, Alex Harris and frontman Blair Henderson all moving onto pastures new.
But former Stirling Albion man Jardine has seen enough in the club's opening two Premier Sports Cup defeats to Championship duo Hamilton Accies and Ayr United to suggest they will be a force again in League Two – newcomers Callum Tapping, James Hilton, and Scott Reekie, in particular, all looking right at home in black and white.
City make the trip to Cliftonhill tomorrow where hosts – and league rivals – Albion Rovers await in what is their third Group E encounter.
The Capital men must pick up all three points if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition. Jardine, however, sees it as another opportunity to build up a greater understanding with his new team-mates on the pitch.
"Training has been really good and the intensity has been there right from the start," Jardine, 23, told the Evening News. "The new guys that have come in are all very good technically and they've already shown glimpses of what they can offer in the first two games. It's really encouraging.
"It was disappointing to see some of the ones from last season leave, some of them have gone full-time having wanted to challenge themselves further and you can't stand in their way of that opportunity when it comes along and I wish them nothing but the best.
"We put everything into getting promoted last season, injuries, work commitments were shelved, you name it. We were devastated after the Dumbarton game. It was such a good season as everyone had their part to play and the manager thanked us for all our efforts. We were gutted but proud of what we had achieved with the number of games we had to play in such a short period of time. It was physically demanding but I loved it."
City struggled at times against Ayr at Somerset Park on Tuesday night, but Jardine was right to point out there were moments in the game where they produced some good passages of play.
"These two games we've played so far have been good tests for us all," he said. "There have been spells in both games where we've shown what we can do, but there have been some moments too that we need to improve on. But that will come as we're still getting to know each other. Footballers always want to test yourself against higher-league opposition and I'm no different. I'm still really looking forward to the season.
"We want to win every game but we know that's not going to happen. We're getting minutes into our legs and that's probably the biggest thing at this stage.
"Tomorrow is going to be difficult. Albion drew 0-0 with Ayr and then beat them on penalties and there's also the added factor that they are in our league and we'll be playing them another four times. We want to put down a marker for the weeks and months ahead."