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Cove Rangers: No let up from Paul Hartley to prepare for life in the Championship

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley Pictures by Scott Baxter

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley insists there will be no let-up from him to help prepare the club for life in the Championship.

The Aberdeen side are preparing for possibly the biggest jump in their history as they get ready to start life in the second tier.

Cove were crowned League One champions this season and have achieved their target of reaching the Championship in five years ahead of schedule.

The players will have the benefit of extra time off this summer, compared to the constricted break they had in 2021 on the back of a manic finish to the campaign.

Hartley will not ‘switch off’

Hartley is known for being a driven character and will stick with those traits to help Cove tackle the Championship as best they can.

“We’ll need to start planning pre-season games and what our schedule will look like,” said Hartley. “But we’ll have a longer break this year.

“It’ll be six or seven weeks, so it’ll be a good rest for them. I’ll try get four games in before that then four more for the build-up. Eight games before the first league game should be more than enough.

Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse. Pictures by Scott Baxter
Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse. Pictures by Scott Baxter

“I’m planning to go to the Championship games on Friday night and then look at the play-off games through that period, just so I’m prepared. I’ll not switch off.

“We’ll need to be ready and well-prepared for coming back.

“Bringing in a couple of players is a must. We’ll need to strengthen and bring some more bodies in.”

Hartley is due to sit down with Cove chairman Keith Moorhouse this week and discuss key plans for the future.

Hybrid model: ‘If it’s not this year, it’ll definitely be next year’

One of the big decisions to be made will be whether the club employs a hybrid model of full-time and part-time players next season and, if so, what that will look like.

It is something Airdrieonians have done and have had a great season in League One.

However, on the flipside, Arbroath have shown what can be done as a part-time club in the Championship with a good core of players.

“It’s not something we’ve set in stone yet,” said Hartley. “I said to the chairman we’d get together this week and see how we can plan ahead for that, if it’s going to be this year.

“Is it too soon? I don’t know. It’s how the hybrid model works; you do your two nights (with part-time players) and do your morning/afternoon session with the other players.

“If that’s the way it’s going to work this year (it’s not confirmed). If it’s not this year, it’ll definitely be next year.”

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