Paul Hartley reckons Cove Rangers’ growing reputation and contacts’ book will help them recruit players.
On the back of promotion to the SPFL last season they brought in loan players from Dundee United, Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Dundee, while this summer they have brought in Adam Livingstone after his release by Motherwell.
Hartley finished his playing career at Aberdeen and spent three years as Dundee manager, while assistant manager Gordon Young held the same role at Tannadice and was head of youth at ‘Well.
Declan Glass was the success story in the loan market last season for Cove, spending the first half of the campaign at the Balmoral Stadium, while John Robertson (St Johnstone), Josh Mulligan (Dundee), Archie Meekison (Dundee United) and Chris Antoniazzi (Aberdeen) all had spells with the League One side.
Hartley said: “We’ve got a lot of contacts all over Scotland, probably in every league, so that helps us. Gordon is well connected down the road and obviously myself, being down there for a spell in my career and being at Alloa, Falkirk, Dundee, we’ve used the loan market pretty well.
“We’ve got enough people we know that we feel can help us. It’s a good club and where people enjoy being at. There’s a good structure there and we think we’re a good team. There’s a good spirit and that definitely help.
“I think managers and heads of academy will want to send players to us because we try do things properly, we think we’re professional and play good football. It’s a place where younger players can learn and if they’re coming on loan, can go back having that better knowledge of the game.”
Cove have included several young players among their first-team squad this season and three have been training with the first team.
Goalkeeper Balint Demus is the only understudy to number one Stuart McKenzie at present, following John McCafferty’s decision to stop playing and focus on coaching.
Rhys Thomas is a defender who has come through the club’s youth setup while Nathan Meres spent last season on loan at Highland League side Huntly, after his release by Dundee.
Hartley added: “They’ve been in with us for a while, even going back to last year. We might send them out on loan but we’ll see how they do in pre-season. Sometimes you get surprised with a younger player. They’ve not looked out of place.
“John (McCafferty) is our goalkeeper coach now, we’ve got Balint and we might try add someone else. Balint is still a young kid, he’s got a good presence about him but he’s still raw, which the other two are too.
“They’ll learn while they’re in with the senior lads. Hopefully Nathan has benefitted from his year in the Highland League and we’ll look at him, Rhys and Balint in pre-season and see how they adjust to being in with the senior squad.”