PRESTON ATHLETIC’S Scott Devlin may only have signed for the club a fortnight ago but the midfielder believes he’s already seen enough to suggest that the future is positive for the East Lothian club.
Devlin put pen to paper two weeks ago as Willie Kirk added experience to his young squad. He came off the bench in the recent Lowland League cup win over Edinburgh University and played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday’s narrow 2-1 home loss to Spartans, displaying a range of passing that allowed the home side to cause the champions real problems.
The former Brechin man is convinced such performances can continue for Preston, starting with tomorrow’s fixture against Whitehill Welfare as they seek to make sure relegation isn’t an issue come the end of the season.
Preston sit second bottom of the Lowland League table, two points clear of Threave Rovers having played two games more. While relegation may ultimately depend on league expansion and club licences, Preston will want to take themselves out of the equation entirely.
“There are plenty positives to take from Tuesday’s match,” said Devlin. “It was tough to take because the boys did really well, but losing two slack goals on our part having done so well was tough. I thought a draw would have been a fair result – it was that kind of game.
“From that performance, confidence will be really good for the Whitehill game. We’ve nothing to fear from anybody in this league – we really haven’t. We’ll apply ourselves well and hope to go and get three points on Saturday because we need them.
“We’re expecting a wee bit more of a physical game – I think they’ll try and play the long ball more up to [Aaron] Somerville but it’ll be a good test. That and the Spartans game are two good tests for the boys.
“Hopefully we’ll stay up – I think we’ll get enough points. We’re like a different team nowadays. We’re not conceding a lot of goals; we’re scoring and creating chances. We’ll be fine, I think.”
A more immediate goal for the big No.8 is to put together a successive run of games as he continues to edge towards full fitness following a bad time with injury.
“I’ve only been here two weeks and I’ve previously had a couple of nightmares with injury so it’s good to be back. I was training with Preston for a bit then I snapped my hamstring at the start of November last year and that set me back for another eight weeks.
“I’ve trained since January and I’m back in it now so it’s good and I just need to push on. There’s a lot of potential here.
“It’s about a run of games now. I think we’ve potentially got about seven or eight games left including one of the cups, so I just want to get that done, plan for next season and get my fitness back.”
Despite being a recent arrival at the Pennypit, there was one familiar face around to help Devlin settle in. Brother Paul – Preston’s captain – helped persuade him to sign on following his departure from Dalkeith juniors and, despite netting Preston’s opener on Tuesday night, his older sibling wasn’t completely singing the younger’s praises.
“It’s good playing in midfield with Paul – he’s a bit frustrating at times but I’m sure he’ll say playing with me is even worse!”