Craigroyston are the latest club to make the move to the Juniors from the East of Scotland League and manager Graham Buckley is confident they’ll be able to hold their own in the South Division this season.
The St Mark’s Park outfit have followed in the footsteps of Easthouses Lily, who joined the three-tier East Region set-up last summer, and former Cowdenbeath and Livingston coach Buckley is looking forward to guiding the club into their first league fixture at home to West Calder United on Saturday.
Having been narrowly beaten by Whitburn in a friendly towards the end of last season – the West Lothian club went on to secure promotion from the South into the Premier League – Buckley, who has strengthened his squad with nine new additions, hopes that match will serve as a barometer on how his side will fare this season.
“The squad is looking good and I’d be very surprised if we don’t finish around mid-table for our first shot at the Juniors,” he said. “We’ve not got any money to give players or anything like that while the average team are giving half-decent money to players.
“Towards the end of last season, we went to Whitburn for a friendly and they beat us 5-3, but we played some nice football and we should have got something out of the game. That was a good marker for us I’d say and I think the squad I’ve got is a wee bit better than last season.
“The main thing is going and consolidating first, win a few games and see how we go. If we put a run together brilliant, if we don’t, we’ll put a run together the following year. Three or four of our players have played at this level and they are telling me that we’re good as what is in the league.”
Easthouses will be hoping to challenge for one of the two promotion places in the 14-team league having finished a respectful sixth last season under the guidance of boss David McQueenie.
Edinburgh United, managed by former Hearts striker Calum Elliot, were relegated from the Premier League last season and are aiming for a quick return.