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Highland League: New Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart aiming for league and cup progress

New Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart
New Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart

New Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart is targeting cup success and pushing towards the top six in the Highland League.

Stewart has been appointed as Steve Dolan’s successor at Princess Royal Park and has signed a two-and-half-year contract.

He had worked under Dolan as first-team coach and then assistant manager, with Stewart now the boss at Princess Royal Park on a permanent basis, having been placed in interim charge following Dolan’s departure last month.

This season the Banff side have picked one point from three league games and fell at the first hurdle in the Scottish Cup and Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup.

Stewart, who will be assisted by first-team coach Kevin Stewart and goalkeeping coach James Blanchard, is keen for Deveronvale to progress in both the league and cups.

The former Ellon United and Deveronside boss said: “We’re a wee bit off speaking about challenging for leagues.

Steve Dolan’s time as Deveronvale manager came to an end last month

“I am one of those people who believes at the start of every season your aim should be to win the league because everybody starts with the same points.

“Being realistic with where Deveronvale is at the minute I think by the end of the two-and-half-years we should to be pushing into that top six.

“That’s where we want to be and I think that’s being realistic.

“A run in the Scottish Cup would be a bonus, the Scottish Cup means a lot to me and means a lot to the club for a number of reasons, but it also means a lot to the supporters.

“If you’re trying to get supporters back a run in the Scottish Cup and doing well in the other cups and can help do that.

We should be pushing into that top six,” Craig Stewart.

“So trying to get a run in the Scottish Cup is something I’ll be aiming for.

“Any cup we’re involved in we want to do well in, you don’t enter these competitions to make up the numbers, you enter the competitions to go and win them.

“If you don’t think like that then you’re defeated before you start, regardless of what cup we’re in we’re looking to go as far as we can and win it.”

Stewart hopes to make the most of his opportunity as Vale manager. The circumstances in which he has ended up with job following Dolan’s exit are not as he wished.

But having been given the blessing of his old boss, Stewart added: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity and I’d be lying if I said it was a job I didn’t want at some point.

“The circumstances around it with Steve going is not how I would have wanted it, however, it has presented an opportunity and it’s an opportunity I want to grasp.”

With the Highland League put on hold earlier this month Stewart felt it was important Deveronvale made a decision sooner rather than later about the direction they wanted to head in.

Stewart, who had two spells at Princess Royal Park as a player said: “I’m a Banff lad so the Vale has always been my club and I want the best for the club.

“There are things that need to change and improve, but over the past few weeks I’ve had quite a bit of constructive discussion with the board and I feel it’s been positive and things have gone from there.

Deveronvale have yet to win this season

“Once football was shutdown I think it was time for the club to a decision on which direction they were going in whether it was me or anybody else.

“I felt that was important for the players because they’d been left in limbo with what was happening.

“So I thought it was the opportunity for the club to make a decision and thankfully they’ve offered it to me and I’ve accepted.”

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