Whitehill Welfare boss Andrew Kidd sets out ambitious goal for the season

An immediate return to the East of Scotland Premier Division is the aim for Whitehill Welfare boss Andrew Kidd following their relegation to the First Division.

Preparations for the new campaign didn’t get off to a great start for the Rosewell outfit as they suffered a humbling 4-0 loss at home to Hearts B in their first pre-season fixture last Saturday.

Kidd, in his second season at the Ferguson Park helm, is targeting more signings ahead of what he believes will be an ultra-competitive league next season.

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He has signed central defender Robbie Dowie, 23, from Edinburgh United and goalkeeper Ryan Mack, 30, from Dunbar United.

He replaces last season’s No1 Musa Dibaga, who has signed for Premier Division Broxburn Athletic. Fellow keeper Ross Gilpin has also departed, while Ricky Miller has left to join Leith Athletic.

Kidd said: “It’s going to take a while for the boys to get to know each other, how we want to play and the system we play. Pre-season games are all about getting minutes in the legs and getting sharpness in the legs.

“We are hoping another two or three new faces are going to come in; guys who have been training with us that are maybe thinking about signing.

“Our aim next season is to come straight back up. We would like to win the league but our priority is to get promoted. Whitehill as a club are too big to be at this level, no disrespect to any of the other teams, but for as long as I have known Whitehill, they should be playing in the highest league.

Whitehill Welfare manager Andrew Kidd, assistant player manager Josh Walker and coaches Chris Gemmell, Lee McIntosh and Steven McCulloch are looking forward to the new season.

“Sometimes it needs to happen to clubs, to take that fall down the leagues to re-establish themselves. That’s why I am here. I want to get them back up the leagues and to the force that they were before, I want to get them back to that. Hopefully falling down the leagues will maybe be a blessing in disguise.

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“I imagine the teams that have dropped into this league, maybe Dunbar and Newtongrange, and I imagine Leith will be good, Preston [Athletic] as well. All the clubs will feel like they have a chance [of promotion] especially with three going up. It will be a really competitive league, it keeps it interesting and I’m looking forward to it.”

Whitehill Welfare will be sharing their Ferguson Park home with new Lowland League side Hearts B this season