Dyce Juniors’ debut in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup tonight is a by-product of the youth development ambitions at Ian Mair Park.
The Superleague side has gained entry to this season’s Shire Cup, as well as the Aberdeenshire Shield, following a move to get their under-20s side into the Aberdeenshire and District Football Association’s development league.
Nevertheless, manager Alfie Youngson is hoping Dyce – who travel to Highland League Deveronvale tonight in the first round – can “get through a round or two”.
Former Dundee and Peterhead midfielder Youngson said: “We paid entry in May or June, more looking to get an under-20s side to be able to play in the ADFA’s Monday night development league.
“It was more for a pathway for the club, but the two cups came as a bonus.
“We’ve got a free week for the first Saturday (of the one-off regionalised Junior season, this weekend), so it’s worked out absolutely ideal for us the game’s come at this time, and it’ll be a tough test for us against Deveronvale, an established Highland League team.
“We’ll definitely be the underdogs going into it, but we’ll give it a good go and enjoy it.”
Deveronvale boss Steve Dolan, meanwhile, says the Princess Royal Park side have picked up a couple of injuries due to the stop-start nature of their coronavirus-interrupted preparations.
On the challenge presented by competition debutants Dyce, Dolan said: “They’re probably ahead of us preparation-wise.
“They’ve signed Nick Gray, Sam Robertson, Jordan Leyden – all good Highland League players.
“We tried signing one or two of them, but they went to the juniors for other reasons. We’re under no illusions how tough it’s going to be. They beat Formartine in a friendly last week, so they’ll be up to speed.
“I back my own team though – we’re capable of beating anybody on our day.”