'It's my hometown club' - Carluke Rovers interim boss Kenny Neill interested in taking manager role on permanent basis

Carluke Rovers haven't played since this 6-0 defeat at Ashfield on December 18 (Pic by Kevin Ramage)Carluke Rovers haven't played since this 6-0 defeat at Ashfield on December 18 (Pic by Kevin Ramage)
Carluke Rovers haven't played since this 6-0 defeat at Ashfield on December 18 (Pic by Kevin Ramage)
Carluke Rovers interim manager Kenny Neill has admitted that he’d relish taking the job at his hometown club on a permanent basis if offered.

The deadline for applications to become Mark Weir’s replacement is reached this Friday, with around five interested parties having already thrown their hat in the ring – along with Neill – to take over at John Cumming Stadium.

Neill told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “This level of football is obviously going to be an attraction.

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“I have stayed in Carluke since I was a young boy so I’m a local manager. You would like nothing better than to do well with your local team so I think that’s the big attraction for me.

"I think whoever gets the job will put their heart and soul into it. I know that Mark certainly did that when he was in charge, he was 100 per cent committed.

"I would be surprised if anybody took a job and wasn’t willing to do that.”

Rovers were frustrated on Saturday when their scheduled Conference B clash at Royal Albert was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

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“We were obviously keen to get a game but when you saw the forecast for the week it wasn’t exactly unexpected,” Neill said.

"We had to play at Royal Albert because John Cumming Stadium wasn’t available, but we couldn’t have switched the venue even if we had wanted to because Carluke was covered in snow on Saturday morning.”

Poor weather and coronavirus permitting, at time of going to press Rovers were trying to arrange a friendly for this Saturday, when they have no scheduled league fixture.

The John Cumming Stadium outfit are currently 11th in West of Scotland League Conference B with 20 points from 23 games, having last played in a 6-0 defeat at Ashfield on December 18.

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Such heavy losses – along with decent results also – have been the hallmark of Carluke’s season so far and Neill thinks the trend is understandable due to the make-up of teams in the league.

"I think the way the conferences have been set up you don’t really get a chance to get a run of results,” Neill said.

"We were due to have been playing Royal Albert – a similar level to us – on Saturday.

"Then we jump to play Cambuslang in two weeks time.

“Cambuslang are really two leagues above us, so to speak.

"So it’s kind of hard for players to get that momentum going.

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"Sometimes I think if you get two or three wins in a row, all of a sudden you get a wee bounce in camp.

"But it’s hard to get something like that going the way these leagues are set up this year.

"We always knew that was the way it was going to be.”

Neill reckons Rovers will be a lot more competitive next season, as the conferences begin to take a more ‘pyramid-like’ shape with clubs at the top end of the table being promoted and replaced by teams relegated who are a similar standard to Carluke.

"My understanding about this season is that we had to complete at least one round of fixtures which would mean the leagues would be counted,” he added.

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"To my knowledge that has happened, so hopefully it means that next season there will be a more level playing field.

"We should manage to hopefully get that momentum going and like anything else if you start off on a good run you never know what can happen."

Meanwhile, Rovers’ Clydesdale rivals Forth Wanderers also had a blank Saturday last weekend as their scheduled home West of Scotland League Conference A encounter against Muirkirk Juniors was postponed due to Covid issues in the opposition camp.

This Saturday sees Forth – seventh in the league table with 36 points from 21 matches – at home to second placed Arthurlie in the league with kick-off at 1.30pm.

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