AFTER two very difficult seasons Cowdenbeath had a much happier campaign in 2018-2019 finishing in sixth place in Ladbrokes League 2.

After two years of survival play-off drama the Blue Brazil improved dramatically and at times threatened to burst into the top half of the table and to finish in the top six was a good return for manager Gary Bollan and his backroom unit.

Now looking ahead to the 2019-20 campaign the boss would like to see his team do even better and challenge for the top four, but he knows that it will need his re-shaped squad to maintain consistency of a high standard of performance right the way through to May.

This season the division will have new arrivals from the Highland League, Cove Rangers, and relegated Brechin City and Stenhousemuir, looking to make an impact, while Edinburgh City, who led the table for long periods last term, and Annan Athletic, who were in the top four all last season, will be seeking to be up there again.

Albion Rovers, who made a dramatic comeback to pip Berwick Rangers, and avoid the bottom slot, have improved greatly under former Hibs winger Kevin Harper and had a good Betfred Cup campaign, so they will be looking to maintain that form for the long haul.

With Elgin City, Queen's Park and Stirling Albion also in the frame manager Bollan is right to suggest this will be a very competitive division.

The manager has stressed that he wants his team to look to make Central Park like a fortress this season and to rack up as many home wins as possible, but he is also aware that away points are crucial to making a real impact on the table.

“Clearly if you want to be competing for the top four positions in the table collecting points regularly on the road is crucial,” he added.

“It will be a really competitive division this season and points will have to be hard earned.

“We have the firepower in the squad to score goals but we know that the supply chain to the front line has to be consistently good and at the back we have to ensure that we keep errors to a minimum."

The manager has brought in new players in the shape of goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski, on loan from Hibernian; experienced centre-back Craig Barr; young full-back Euan Valentine; talented central midfielder, Archie Thomas, and experienced wide midfielder Graham Taylor.

He hopes that these additions added to players who have served the club well in the shape of Fraser Mullen, Jamie Pyper, Kyle Miller, Robbie Buchanan, Harvey Swann, and the strike force unit of Jordan Allan, Kris Renton, David Cox, Jordyn Sheerin and Ryan Connelly, can get the goals to make the campaign a good one.

They open their home season this Saturday against Stirling Albion, with a 3pm kick-off, and the manager and squad would welcome a big turn out from the home fans to back them.