Carluke Rovers management pair tipped to bring stability, loyalty, thorough preparation and attacking football
Although the former Newmains United partnership took over from previous gaffer Mark Weir as far back as February, the early finish to last season's league campaign meant they only actually took charge of two competitive fixtures and so virtually have a clean slate ahead of the 2022-23 campaign starting later this summer.
"One of the big things about bringing Paul and Craig in was to get stability at our club,” said Rovers committee man Steven Kane.
"Paul’s a Carluke man as well. The two of them stuck it out at Newmains during difficult times and stayed there so there’s that loyalty and commitment.
"Plus they are meticulous in their preparation. They will look at last season’s results, go through it with the players and just see where we were losing our goals, when we were losing our goals and try to avoid that this season.
“And they’ve got a good backroom staff there.”
Although Rovers finished down in 11th place in West of Scotland League Conference B last season after winning just seven of their 28 league fixtures, the ‘lop sided’ nature of the conference set-up meant that a fair chunk of their matches were played against teams with largely superior resources.
The abolition of the conference system for the new term will see Rovers in Division 3, a league featuring clubs of similar standing throughout, although the exact make-up of this division remains unconfirmed.
“We are still waiting on the league to be finalised,” Kane said. “And don’t forget that it’s not like we’ll be playing the same teams as last season.
"It’s almost impossible to say where you think you’re going to be in the league because we haven’t played teams like Lanark or Lesmahagow for a couple of years.
"We have only played a couple of games under Davies and Gupwell so far so it’s hard to say the style of football we will typically play next season.
"I’m sure we’ll try and be more attacking but it’s like any team, we just need to keep the door shut at the back because we were losing a lot of goals last season as a team.
"When you are defending, you need to defend as a whole team. So that would be our first priority, is to make sure we’ve got a strong spine throughout the team with a good goalkeeper.
"We didn’t really have an out and out centre half last season and also we didn’t have an out and out front man which is hopeful what we’ve got with Billy Stevenson (newly signed from Forth Wanderers).
"We need a bit of a target man to get balls into the box for. The bottom line is we didn’t have one last season so anything is going to be a bonus.”
Rovers’ pre-season training started on Saturday, as the John Cumming Stadium team’s squad begin their arduous journey towards getting fully fit for the campaign ahead.
"I am sure there would be a few heavy legs after that first session,” Kane added.
"I think there were quite good numbers there.”
After the rollercoaster nature of last season – when Rovers would often intersperse a heavy loss to one of the league’s big guns with a respectable run of results against clubs with similar resources to their own – the 2022-23 campaign is likely to be less ‘up and down’.
Kane said: “I don’t think we will be on the end of 6-0 league defeats this season. I would be very surprised if that happened.
"I would hope that most games will be back to relatively tight affairs.”
Rovers, who will play Carluke Thistle and Gartcairn in pre-season friendlies this summer, would also support the reintroduction of the Clydesdale Cup with games against Forth Wanderers, Lanark and Lesmahagow.