Edinburgh City will make their home bow for the 2014-15 Lowland League season tomorrow when they host Dalbeattie Star, but manager Gary Jardine could be forgiven for not wanting to return home too soon.
The Capital club have picked up maximum points in their two league outings this season – both coming away from Meadowbank Stadium.
A season opener in the Borders was marked in style with a 3-0 victory over Vale of Leithen. This was followed up with a hard-fought 2-1 derby win against city rivals Spartans on Wednesday night, earned under the floodlights at Ainslie Park.
City, currently second in the table, will be hoping to build on their strong start in front of a home crowd. Whilst the common conception is that strong home form is a must for any successful side, Jardine hasn’t felt his team have always produced their best on their own patch.
He said: “We only played one friendly at Meadowbank in pre-season because of the American football, so we’re looking forward to getting back there.
“When you look at last season, our record maybe wasn’t all that good at home, but we’ll be looking to get back there and carry on the way we’ve started picking up points recently.”
Aside from winning on the road, another theme of City’s start to the season has been the goals of Mark Osbourne.
The forward put Vale of Leithen to the sword with a double on the opening weekend of the season and netted what proved to be a derby winner from the spot against champions Spartans in midweek.
Although early days, the young striker is keeping illustrious company in the Lowland League scoring charts.
After the first two fixtures, former Hibs man Garry O’Connor – who signed for Selkirk last week – is sitting on three goals alongside Osbourne.
His manager has been delighted with that return so far, but was quick to acknowledge the youngster’s all-round contribution to the team.
“He’s done really, really well. He’s only 18 and plays with no fear, which helps. He respects the guys he’s playing against and always wants to be better than his opposition.
“He’s shown a hunger and desire to do that both by scoring and making intelligent runs.”
In contrast to City, Dalbeattie have only picked up two points from their opening two fixtures – consecutive 2-2 draws with Whitehill Welfare and Gretna respectively.
A third-placed finish last term – two places above the Edinburgh side – means many will fancy tomorrow’s opponents to be in the mix for a crack at promotion to the football league.
Despite a relatively slow start, Jardine expects the Star to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season: “I think Dalbeattie, along with Spartans, Whitehill and Stirling are four of the top sides in this league.
“They have a lot of talented players and, similar to Spartans on Wednesday night, they will look to put on us on the back foot.
“We had a couple of players out who will hopefully be back, but I know for sure that we won’t get away with the kind of performance we put in on Wednesday.”