Inverurie Locos manager Neil Cooper believes new signing Eric Watson can be a key player at Harlaw Park this term.
The former Cove Rangers captain has joined Locos on a 12-month deal and Cooper reckons the player’s experience will be a vital asset.
He said: “Eric’s leadership qualities, both on and off the park, will be very helpful.
“We are quite quiet on the pitch at times but as a footballer you need to be able to communicate at the back and Eric definitely does that.
“We had the second best defensive record a couple of seasons ago but we didn’t defend well as a team last season. I expect Eric to come in and galvanise them at the back.
“He’s been a terrific player in the Highland League, leading Cove to the league title on several occasions and winning countless cups during his 10 years there. He also helped get Cove into the SPFL so hopefully he’ll be able to show us the way to do it as well.”
Cooper reckons that with Watson’s arrival he now has a strong spine running through the team.
He added: “Our goalkeeper Andy Reid has been different class since he returned to us from Formartine United.
“At the back, alongside Eric, we have Ryan Broadhurst who has done really well, and Marc Souter, which gives us competition for places.
“We have Neil McLean in the middle of the park and in attack we have Neil Gauld and Jonny Smith, who is coming back from injury after missing most of last season, as well as Chris Angus and Andy Hunter.
“Neil was the top goalscorer in the Highland League and when you add in the other lads I think we have the best group of strikers in the league.
“We are looking forward to the season.”
- Ground: Harlaw Park
- Colours: Red and black
- Honours: Scottish Qualifying Cup 2004-05, 2005-06; Highland League Cup 2007-08, 2008-09; Aberdeenshire Shield 2003-04, 2013-14, 2016-17; SFA North Region Challenge Cup 2008-09
- Manager: Neil Cooper
- Season 18-19:Finished 5th
Inverurie Locos striker Neil Gauld has set himself the ambitious target of netting 50 times this season.
The 32-year-old, who is celebrating his testimonial season, scored 42 times for the Harlaw Park side last term.
But Gauld feels a couple of decent cup runs could enable him to reach the half century.
The former Formartine United and Huntly attacker said: “Thirty-eight of my 42 goals were in Highland League matches, which was more than a goal a game.
“I was delighted to pick up the trophy for top league scorer at the annual awards dinner.
“It was pleasing as we only won one cup game all season, which didn’t help my overall goal tally.
“My best performance has been 43 goals so there’s no doubt that 50 could be within reach, especially if we do better in cup competitions and I stay injury-free.”
Gauld believes his old adversary, Cove captain Eric Watson, is a great signing for Locos.
He added: “He’s definitely been one of my toughest opponents over the years and he can also be a danger at set-pieces at the other end.
“His experience will be invaluable for us.”