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Lossiemouth boss Joe Russell hopes signings will boost Coasters after ’sour taste’ of bottom Highland League finish

Joe Russell.
Pictures by Jason Hedges
Joe Russell. Pictures by Jason Hedges

Lossiemouth manager Joe Russell hopes his blend of youth and experience can make it a successful season for the Coasters.

Lossie get their new campaign under way on Saturday when Fraserburgh make the trip to Grant Park.

And, after strengthening both his defence and forward line, Russell is approaching the big kick-off with optimism.

He said: “Due to the points-per-game ratio we finished bottom, which left a sour taste in the mouth, and we’re hoping we can kick on and move up the table this season.

“We’ve got some new faces at the back. We have a goalkeeper, Logan Ross, on loan from Ross County. He is only 16 and, while I don’t want to heap pressure on the lad, he is well thought of by his club.

“He played at the weekend and it was a big learning curve for him. Saturday’s game is maybe coming too early for him, but I’m hoping once he settles in he will challenge for the jersey here. We need a bit of pressure applied for places.

“We signed a centre-half at the tail end of last season in Tom Palmer, an RAF serviceman, who has done well, and we’ve brought in Fergus Edwards from Buckie. We’ve also got Jared Kennedy, so we’re looking to see how they all got on.

“Martin Charlesworth up front is a big one for us too and we’re keeping our fingers crossed he can make a big contribution at the other end.

“We created chances last season which a seasoned striker would have taken advantage of and Martin certainly comes into that category. He is proven at this level and fingers crossed he can put away some of those chances this season and take some of the pressure of the other lads in the team.”

Martin Charlesworth.

The wait to start the new season has been a long one for every club. The coaching staff and players opted not to halt their preparations for the new campaign after the original start date of October 17 was delayed until this weekend.

Russell, like most managers in the league, says keeping the players focused on a new 15-game season has been a challenge due to the uncertainty about whether the campaign would go ahead. But with the opening game now just days away, the Lossie boss can sense the excitement in his squad.

He said: “We’re definitely glad to get going after a long pre-season.

“When the announcement of the season start date being postponed was made, we decided to keep our training going. The last couple of weeks have been a bit tense, with the boys wondering if the season would start this weekend, but now it’s really happening they are fired up.”

This will be a Highland League season like no other due to the shorter format and Russell expects an unpredictable and exciting season.

He said: “It will be a bit strange playing a shorter season and the one thing that stands out for me is the fact there will be no second chances.

“If you have come out on the wrong end of a tight game or feel something has gone against you, then you really look forward to the chance to gain some revenge later in the season but that won’t happen this time.

“With every game being a one-off you are going see a few teams nicking points in games.”

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