New Elgin City boss Allan Hale will target the Highland League for talent – but insists that is not the only transfer market they will be trading in.
Hale and assistant Stefan Laird, who this week swapped Huntly for the League Two side, saw off the competition for the job in part due to their knowledge of north football and the connections they have.
Recruiting players (and managers) over the years has always been a test for Elgin, so taking on a north-based management duo was a big plus for chairman Graham Tatters and the Borough Briggs board.
Elgin player search will be widespread – Hale
Hale, who leaves Huntly sixth in the Highland League after 10th and eighth-placed finishes in recent years, joined the Black and Golds in 2020 from juniors Fraserburgh United.
The UEFA-licensed coach, who has also previously bossed Keith in the Highland League, explained they will not only limit their player search to the local area.
He said: “We know the junior scene very well, having come through that and we know the Highland League well, having been involved at that level for 15 or 16 years, on and off.
“I have also had relationships with the senior clubs around the area, so we will tap into that knowledge for recruitment.
“However, I do think it is important to not neglect the other side in terms of there being the chance to attract players to Elgin, rather than shoehorn ourselves into one particular area. There are opportunities everywhere and that will be our approach.”
Firstly, Hale will be keen to see what the existing “talented” Elgin group can do now he’s in place.
Ninth-placed Elgin’s focus this Saturday is to try and get a result on the road away to East Fife, who are just one point in front of them.
⚫️⚪️ NEXT MATCH ⚫️⚪️
🆚 East Fife
🏟️ Bayview Stadium – Methil
🏆 Cinch League Two
📅 Saturday 9th December
🎟️ Tickets are available online at East Fife website or at the ticket office on Matchday pic.twitter.com/vKclX0slhJ
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) December 4, 2023
Hale eager to repay board with wins
Increasing their five-point advantage over Clyde is the goal for Hale’s team as Elgin seek to become promotion contenders, certainly within the new management duo’s two-and-a-half-year deal.
Hale said: “I have always approached management with a plan in place. Not just a short-term plan, but a medium-to-long-term plan.
“You must have objectives and try to identify means and how we can achieve them. You start knocking them off in the short-term to try and achieve for the long-term.
“It’s something we did at Huntly – we came in and had a five-year plan and managed to achieve that within half of that period, which was really good.
“The pleasing thing for me was to hear the ambitions of the board and the chairman Graham Tatters. They are very passionate about their club, which is great to see.
“I am desperate to repay them for the faith they have shown in me. If we can help the board and the club achieve their aspirations, then we’ll be delighted to do that.”
Player-coach Ross Draper stepped in when Barry Smith left the role as Elgin manager in November after only two months in the Moray club’s hot-seat.
Their last match, on November 21, was a crucial 1-0 home victory over Forfar Athletic, which offered them a little breathing space at the foot of the table.
Away form must improve for Elgin, starting at East Fife
Hale and Laird will use Draper’s knowledge of East Fife and the current set-up at Elgin ahead of Saturday’s Bayview Stadium clash as they search for their first away win of the term.
Getting a positive result outside of Moray would be the ideal start, and Hale added: “Every game offers an opportunity.
“For us, Ross managed to get a level of consistency from the group, and they have picked up positive results.
“The away form is something we need to try and address. We need to pick up some wins.
“If we can take some of the home form and transfer that into our away form and be positive in our mindset and approach going into games, then hopefully we can generate more wins.
“Saturday is obviously a big game, but every game will be a big game between now and the end of the season.
“Hopefully we can get off to a winning start on Saturday.”
*** Elgin City’s home league match against Clyde, which was postponed at the weekend, has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 30, with a 7,45pm start.
⚫️⚪️ NEW DATE ⚫️⚪️
🏟️ Borough Briggs
🏆 Cinch League Two
📅 Tuesday 30th January
Our league match v Clyde which was postponed at the weekend has been rearranged for the 30th January ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/CFhHNJBAIM
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) December 8, 2023