New Whitehill Welfare goalkeeper Paul Grant hopes his experience of playing at a higher level can rub off on teenage understudy Ross Jardine, beginning against Civil Service Strollers tomorrow.
The former Hibs, Berwick Rangers and Bonnyrigg Rose keeper has penned a deal until the end of the season with the struggling Rosewell outfit, following his decision to leave Broxburn in search of more regular game-time.
Grant now finds himself in direct competition for a starting place with the youngster, who has performed admirably between the sticks during the first half of the campaign.
The 25-year-old, one of three new additions to Ian Little’s squad so far this month, believes Jardine has all the attributes to become one of the best keepers in the league.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s encounter at Christie Gillies Park, Grant said: “I would like to hope I can help Ross out in any way possible.
“From what I’ve seen so far, I think he’s a brilliant keeper and the rate he is progressing at, I don’t think he’ll need much advice from myself. It’s been tough for him this season, he’s only 19 and has been chucked in at the deep end a bit, but his handling of the ball is great and he’s a terrific athlete.
“The boys are starting to gain a bit more belief that we can narrow the gap between ourselves and Dalbeattie.
“We’ve got a few new players in, which seems to have given everyone a massive lift, but we know we’re still up against it.
“We’ll need to win something like six out of our ten remaining games now but there’s no reason why we can’t do that.
“It was frustrating not to hold on for the win against Spartans last weekend, but it was like what happened when we played BSC recently. We know we should’ve taken more from those two games.
“We’ve got another chance to get points on the board against Civil this weekend. I know they’ve been flying lately, so we’ll need to raise our game again in order to take anything.
“We’ve drawn against some of the best sides in the league and we’ve got a run of very winnable games now which are going to be crucial.”
Explaining his decision to join Whitehill, Grant added: “I had been out the game for almost two years and gave up football to focus on other things before I got back involved at Broxburn.
“However, their first-choice keeper, Connor Wallace, was playing well on a consistent basis, which made it difficult for me to force my way into the team, so I’m just looking to get games here.
“I knew Ian (Little) from my time at Berwick and when he found out about my decision to leave, he got in touch straight away to ask if I wanted to join and I was delighted to come on board.
“I joined Hibs when I was 14 and was there for roughly seven years and featured in the first-team squad on a couple of occasions.
“I loved my time there, but things never worked out when the club were relegated. I played once under Pat Fenlon on the final day of the 2011/12 season – a 2-0 defeat against Inverness.”
Elsewhere, Edinburgh University entertain East Stirlingshire at Peffermill, looking to register their first win since November.
Dorian Ogunro’s side have dropped to ninth in the table after claiming just two points from a possible 15 – their last success coming against tomorrow’s opponents at the Falkirk Stadium.
Fourth-placed Spartans welcome BSC Glasgow to Ainslie Park, knowing any less than maximum points could realistically kill off their title challenge.