NEW Dundonald Bluebell boss Stephen Husband feels his recruitment plans for the coming East of Scotland Premier League season are key to the club making a major impact in 2022-23.

The manager, who said he was delighted to have been offered ‘the totally unexpected opportunity’ to become the boss at Moorside, made it clear that while he will be registered as a player with the club, he will be concentrating on the management side next season.

“No one was more surprised than myself when the club offered me the manager’s job but it didn’t take me long to make my mind up that this should be the next stage in my football career,” said the 31 year-old former Blackpool, Dunfermline Athletic and Kelty Hearts midfielder.

“We had a strong end to last season and I was hoping to be asked by boss, Kevin Fotheringham, to keep battling away in midfield next term, but when the club got in touch to enquire if I would like to be one of the people to be considered to replace Kevin, who stepped down at the end of the season, I thought, 'What an opportunity!'

“I have always felt that I would want to go into management when my playing career came to an end, so my intention is to be very focussed on the management side of things next season, but also be available to plug any holes that may come along in the side which can happen as a season unfolds.

“I feel that as we have most of last season’s squad available for next season, we have a strong base on which to build.

“A little bit of inconsistency was our main problem last season, otherwise we could have been sitting in the top four or five teams in the Premier League, so the aim is to look to get a few quality players aboard who can give us that consistency we need.

“So we are already working on trying to find the sort of players who can give us that extra edge.”

The new boss added: “We did well against most of the top sides in the Premier League last season and our aim has to be to start well in the new campaign, and if we can, it will bring the sort of confidence levels that can develop a side into challengers.

“I know that everyone at the club wants the Bluebell to be one of the best teams in the East Premier League, and ultimately win promotion to the Lowland League, so it is important we get the right base constructed to build on."

Husband is delighted that the club will have an under-20s side ready to play in the East of Scotland age group league next season: “In the closing stages of last term we had a string of injuries which limited selection options for Kevin Fotheringham, but having our pathway for young players completed by having the under-20s side ready for action means that we will have these young players ready to come in when needed and enjoy getting key experience.

“Other clubs have benefitted a lot from having their under-20s teams up and running and I am sure the Bluebell will gain greatly from this move.

“2022-23 will be a big season for us and the plan is to make it an exciting one for the supporters and look to be among the teams challenging in cup competitions and making a real impression on the league.”