Edinburgh United boss John O’Hara is looking forward to his first full campaign in charge of the Paties Road outfit after putting his own stamp on the squad over the summer.
O’Hara took the reins of the South Division team at Christmas when he replaced former Hearts striker Calum Elliot as manager. With promotion out of reach, the former Peebles Rovers boss already had one eye on next season.
He is hopeful they can compete at the top end this season after supplementing a young squad with experience over the break, with former Hearts youngster Eddie Mearns the pick of their signings.
“We are getting there, we’ve had a good pre-season and the boys have worked hard,” said O’Hara. “We tested ourselves a wee bit with the games we had so that was good to make sure we were ready.
“Although we didn’t do too badly last year, it was nowhere near where we wanted to be, it was really hard to be honest.
“Any other job I’ve had I’ve come in from the start of the season. It was good in one sense but a bit of an eye opener in another. Coming in at Christmas, a lot of people had signed for the previous manager so when he goes, they go and there was a bit of that. There was ten players available when I came in at Christmas so we added a few amateur guys and managed to get a squad together to finish the season.
“It’s been a good learning curve for the young players who had to step up to the mark. The 17 and 18-year-old kids that were there were actually starting games and playing 90 minutes so they’ve progressed as well.”
United visit Oakley tomorrow in their season opener, and O’Hara is hopeful they can hit the ground running.
He added: “We have to start the season sharp, because generally the top four teams very rarely lose against each other, so we need to make sure we’re ready to go.
“A lot of it is down to who wants it more in this league and hard work will beat talent. We have to show up every week to make sure we get the results.”