Lowland League: Whitehill tooled up for gruelling run

Whitehill Welfare manager Grant Carnie
Whitehill Welfare manager Grant Carnie
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Whitehill Welfare travel to Prestonpans tonight to face Preston Athletic in the Ferrari Packaging Lowland League as they continue on an intense run of fixtures that is sure to test Grant Carnie’s squad until the end of the season.

Postponements over the winter mean Welfare are playing catch-up on the fixture front, and will be playing midweek and weekend games every week until the season’s end. The first set of three games in a week brought a win against Duns, an away defeat to BSC Glasgow and Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Selkirk.

With players returning to fitness, however, Carnie is confident they can cope. “We’ve got millions of games coming up,” he said. “It’s every week, every midweek but we’ve got a big squad. Jamie Devlin’s just come back and was on the bench on Saturday. We’ve not had him since October when we played Wick at home. He’ll come in and bring something different – he’s got pace, he’s strong and has an eye for goal, but we’re always on the lookout for players who can come in and make the squad stronger.”

Carnie admits he’ll have to strike a balance between training and games with such a congested schedule to deal with. “When I played myself, if you had a midweek game, the other nights of the week you’d train,” he explained. “We train Tuesday, Thursday and the game this week is Wednesday, so we’ll maybe train the following Monday. We’ll try and balance it. The nights are getting lighter as well, which should help us. Predominantly training will just be going over things for the weekend, maybe a wee stretch and a warm down, things like that.”

Spartans are also in league action as they head along the M8 for their rearranged encounter with BSC Glasgow at Lochburn Park. Dougie Samuel’s men go into tonight’s match in a fine vein of scoring form, having found the net 13 times in their last four games.

Six of those have been scored by midfielder Dean Horribine, who netted a hat-trick in the 6-2 away win over Galafairydean Rovers at the weekend. BSC Glasgow, who face a similar fixture backlog to Whitehill, will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 weekend defeat at Edinburgh City.