Having won the South Division title twice in a row as an assistant manager, Tranent boss Gary Small is going all out to win it for a third time – but this time as his own man.
Small picked up consecutive winning medals as a No.2 to Johnny Harvey with Edinburgh United and Haddington Athletic, before taking up his first post in management at his local club at the tail-end of last season.
Although many have tipped the Foresters Park side for the title this season, Small is just aiming to better where the club ended up last season.
“Tranent finished third bottom last season and I just want to improve on that,” said Small. “I think I’ve got a good squad of players and I’m hopeful that we can compete at the top end of the table.
“A lot of people have made us favourites for the league, but I don’t believe that myself. We were priced as 11/8 favourites for the league and that’s the shortest price I’ve seen for this division.
“There is a lot of pressure on us and we’ve just got to embrace it.”
Having been given a free week last weekend, Tranent kick off their campaign at home to Pumpherston tomorrow afternoon with what is likely to be a large home support behind them, with the club having sold over 100 season tickets.
Preparations for the game have been disrupted, however, with captain Chris Gray having moved to Linlithgow Rose on Monday – the defender only joining Tranent over the summer from Haddington.
“I’m obviously disappointed about losing Chris, but he intimated that he would like to go so I had to move him,” said Small. “Losing your captain at any stage of the season is never good, but especially with it being four or five days before the start of your season – having planned all pre-season with him – is going to have an impact. We just have to move on and I think the squad is good enough to achieve our goals without him.”
Tranent are without Ryan McKenzie, who is suspended, while David Heggie is unavailable due to work commitments.