Turriff United goalkeeper Fraser Hobday says having a fit Cammy Bowden back in team is a huge boost.
Bowden, the Turriff captain, missed most of last term after undergoing a knee operation.
Turriff start the 2019-20 campaign with the visit of Rothes to The Haughs on Saturday and Hobday is delighted to have Bowden available.
He said: “Having Cammy back is a huge bonus for us.
“He’s a brilliant player to have in front of you as he’s a real old-school type of centre half.
“He wins headers, puts in tackles and he’s a born leader.
“He is the type of captain who leads by example and is able to drag you through games with his enthusiasm and the way he communicates.
“However, Cammy can’t do it all on his own, the other players need to learn from him and follow his example.”
Hobday, who had spells at Huntly and Peterhead before moving to Turriff, is hoping for better luck this season after their squad was hit by a string of injuries last term.
The 23-year-old said: “We had no problem scoring goals last season as we always looked so strong going forward but we did concede far too many at the back. To be honest, we just weren’t good enough.
“Unfortunately, we lost crucial players at the wrong time. Cammy Bowden had his knee injury, striker Davie Ross left halfway through the season then we lost Ross Anderson and that left us short of cover at the back.
“We then had to rely on younger lads who have great potential and good performances in them but they haven’t quite hit the age where you are going to get consistency every week. That proved to be the case throughout the season.
“In some games we were absolutely fantastic, such as at home to eventual champions Cove Rangers and also Formartine United, when we lost narrowly on both occasions.
“We need to learn from encouraging performances like those.”
- Ground: The Haughs
- Colours: Navy blue
- Honours: Aberdeenshire Shield 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014-15
- Manager: Kris Hunter
- Season 18-19: Finished 15th
Turriff United manager Kris Hunter believes his club’s youth policy will pay off.
The Haughs side finished 15th last season in a difficult campaign but Hunter is hoping for more consistency this year.
The former Fraserburgh and Formartine United boss said: “We bled a lot of youngsters this season, that is the way this club has to go and it will take time.
“Our target is to improve on last season’s performance.
“We can take encouragement from some of our performances towards the end of last season.
“For us last term scoring goals wasn’t an issue, we just need to improve on the defensive side of our game. Our young players now have a year’s more experience in Highland League football and I’m sure they will learn from last season’s mistakes.
“I feel we have a lot of talented lads who have a big future in the Highland League.”
Hunter, whose side start the season at home to Rothes, added: “We bled three 16-year-olds last season and a couple of 17-year-olds.
“Hopefully the experience has done them good and they can carry that forward into the new season.”