Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Raymond Carr believes he boasts the best strike partnership in the country at semi professional level and has urged the duo to fire the club into the William Hill Scottish Cup second round.
The 2017/2018 season may be eight weeks old but Jamie Devlin and Sean Wringe have already racked up 32 goals between them for the reigning East of Scotland League champions.
Tomorrow they welcome Highland League outfit Inverurie Loco Works to Saughton Enclosure for one of the ties of the first round.
Lothian boast a 100 per cent record in all competitions so far this term and Carr is desperate to end this weekend with that run still intact. However, he feels it’s the goalscoring prowess of Devlin and Wringe that is really making other teams sit up and take notice.
“I think they are the best partnership in our league but I always think they would be the best partnership in the Lowland League as well,” Carr said. “It’s like that all over the park, if you’re building a team it’s about partnerships and playing in little triangles and what have you. Sean and Jamie compliment one another so well and are both very intelligent footballers.
“Devs has that wee bit more pace than Sean but Sean, as the games have been progressing, is getting his fitness up and he’s great at holding the ball up and winning it in the air.”
Asked if some of the other more attacking players in his squad might struggle to break into his starting line-up given the duo’s exploits so far, Carr said: “The other guys will be given the opportunity because there is no point in them being here if we’re not going to use them. If that was the case then they’d be just as well going somewhere else.
“We’re trying to get the youngsters involved. As the game wears on and if they’re on the bench, we’re telling them to watch what these guys are doing because they’ve got that bit more experience.
“It’s a learning curve for some of them because some of them say ‘oh I’m ready now’ and they’re not. If you look at Liam O’Donnell from three or four years ago, he came from our 21s and he was a bit-part player but look at him now, he starts and he’s been phenomenal this season.
“We’ve improved the squad every year. We’ve got great strength in depth, especially with some of the youngsters coming through with the likes of Jordan Mungal, Ryan Hutchison, Sam Nhamburo and Charlie Simpson.”
Despite the Capital side’s undefeated start, Carr is anticipating another rollercoaster 90 minutes at Saughton.
“We’ve won every game from day one and the first friendly back in July so I couldn’t really have asked for much more,” he said. “This is our biggest game so far this season so we’ve just got to keep our focus. If you get through this one then you could get a really decent tie, home or away but we know just how difficult a game this will be.
“I’ve seen a couple of clips of them but I’ve got good contacts up there too so I’ve had some reports on them. I genuinely think it’s 50/50 as to who goes through. I think we have a bit more pace than Inverurie so it has the makings of a really good game.”
Meanwhile, there’s Scottish Cup first-round action across the city tomorrow with Civil Service Strollers also hosting Highland League opposition in Strathspey Thistle.
Strollers have lost four of their five Lowland League fixtures at their Christie Gillies Park ground and will hope a break from league duty can bring a change in their fortunes. Alex Cunningham’s men were beaten 2-1 by Edusport Academy six days ago.
Elsewhere, Edinburgh University welcome Lossiemouth, also of the Highland League, to East Peffermill. Manager Dorian Ogunro is hoping last season’s top scorer Jack Guthrie is fit enough to start for the students having missed the past couple of months through injury.
Whitehill Welfare, meanwhile, make the seven-hour round trip to Station Park where hosts Nairn County await.
The Rosewell club have struggled so far this season having taken just seven points from a possible 27 in the Lowland League.