Royalists press on with pre-season

HAWICK Royal Albert may have just ended a season, but the Albert Park side are already planning for the forthcoming term.

Training began this week with sessions at Dalkeith, which included most of last season’s squad, plus a batch of new faces.

Albert assistant manager Graeme Chadwick said he was delighted to see such a strong turnout for the first get-together of the 2012-13 campaign.

“We had a turnout of 23 players on Tuesday night, among them four Hawick boys – Steven Drummond, Ryan Shepherd, Gary Gillies, and Kerr Brown. It was a good, hard workout, but that was just the beginning. Training will step up a gear soon,” he said.

Chadwick and boss Laurie Dunn have worked hard to recruit new faces ahead of the new season – and he revealed there will be more to come.

“Four new guys have been signed so far,” he said. “We have David Duncan, who was a goalkeeper at Leith Athletic and Bobby Nwanze, who was once on the books of Clyde. As well as those two, we have former Preston Athletic player Peter Keenan, and Peter Conaghan from amateur football. This is just the start, and there will be other new signings shortly.

“Hawick may have finished bottom of the league last season, but I am quietly confident that we will be well up in the top part of the league this coming season as the squad is going to be stronger.”

The Albert kick off a long list of friendly matches in facing East Linton at Haddington on June 30.

Then, they are involved in a four-team tournament at Pencaitland that begins on Saturday, July 7. Royalists meet hosts Pencaitland in one semi-final, while Kelso United and Haddington clash in the other.

Saturday, July 14 sees the Albert tackle Dalkeith Amateurs at home, and the following weekend they are scheduled to host a Rangers XI. This match has been confirmed by the Glasgow giants but has yet to be rubber-stamped by the SFA.

On July 28, the Albert host junior outfit Larkhall Royal Albert. This game is set to become an annual event with a trophy up for grabs.

A friendly against a Hearts XI could also be on the cards.

The season opens in earnest for the Albert on Saturday, August 4 with the League Cup competition. Royalists have been drawn alongside Whitehill Welfare, Selkirk, Eyemouth United, Berwick Rangers Reserves, and Lothian Thistle.

n TRAINING for Hawick Legion starts on Tuesday at the leisure centre. Sessions are £1 and players can use the pool and sauna for an extra £1.

New and old players welcome.