Match Preview: Edusport Academy – Finnie settling in well but is not looking forward to Annan road trip

Two goals from the penalty spot have helped summer signing Jordan Finnie settle in at the Vale, although his new team-mates have also had their part to play.

The striker made the move from Civil Service Strollers in the summer and after finding the net from the spot in the first match of pre-season against Peebles Rovers, he has accepted the opportunity twice more in competitive matches.

Adapting to life at a new club can be fraught with difficulty as a player gets to grip with new surroundings and trying to gel with different personnel. It can be doubly tough for a striker as they are judged on goals and so are often keen to get off the mark quickly.

For that reason Finnie is glad that he was able to do quickly at his new club. Speaking ahead of tommorow’s trip to Annan to face Edusport Academy, he said: “I think for any striker the most challenging thing is actually getting that first goal, especially at a new club, so the penalties have definitely helped.

“It’s always good to score a goal whether it be a penalty or not.

“I’ve loved it since I came in. Everyone has been brilliant with me personally, obviously it takes time to get to know everyone and how they play. But I’ve known Ando for a while and I know how he wants to play and the types of players he wants at the club so I’m looking forward to seeing how we do this season.”

The only two defeats on Finnie’s Vale record have come against highly rated teams in East Kilbride and Stirling University. Wins against Edinburgh University and Preston Athletic as well as an unbeaten pre-season have boosted morale, and the striker is happy with how things have been going on the park, adding: “Given the teams we have played with the amount of boys that are lucky enough to be away on holiday or missing through injury the boys who have played have done brilliant.”

Attentions now turn to the league’s new boys in Edusport Academy. They will be a bit of an unknown quality to the Vale squad having never faced them before, but have had a solid start since earning promotion from the South of Scotland League.

Last weekends comfortable 4-0 win over Hawick Royal Albert and an opening day point shared with Gala Fairydean Rovers has them on four points from four games. Finnie is ready for a hard encounter, but not for the travelling involved.

“I’m sure it will be a tough game, every game at this level is tough. I’m just not looking forward to the two hour car journey”, he said.


Match Preview: Ando determined for better cup fortunes & discusses Kerr Allan

As he prepares for the first cup game of the season, Chris Anderson is adamant that his team must do better in knockout competitions.

Vale take on Preston Athletic today in the Qualifying Cup having struggled to make an impact in any of the cups last season, including being hammered by East Kilbride in the Scottish and knocked out of the Qualifying Cup by East of Scotland Heriot Watt University.

Eight players were missing against EK last weekend and Preston will arrive at Victoria Park to find a squad still short of full strength. However Anderson still wants them to set out their intentions for better fortunes in the cups. He said: “Last year we didn’t do well enough in the cup competitions and our goal is to improve in all competitions this time out.

“We are still in the early stages of the season and with a number of players missing we find ourselves not quite at full strength.

“Our captain James Elliot is still injured and a few weeks away and we are also missing the experience of Andy Martin who we hope can make a return in the near future.

“Once everyone is fit and healthy it will be up to the players to stake a claim for a starting place.”

He also took time to discuss the latest addition to his squad, Kerr Allan. Despite his red card in the victory over Edinburgh University there are high hopes for what Allan can add to the team.

“We are delighted to announce the signing of Kerr Allan. I have known Kerr for a few years now and he has been a player I was keen to work with.

“Not only is he a talented player but more importantly he possesses a great attitude and willingness to improve”, added Anderson.

Match Preview: East Kilbride

Chris Anderson has vowed that his players will be up for the fight tomorrow, despite the fact that no-one will believe his depleted side can pull off a shock.

Last season’s runaway champions East Kilbride are the visitors to Victoria Park, after beating their hosts three times last season including a 9-1 thumping in the Scottish Cup. They have also started this campaign well enough, beating Dalbeattie Star 1-0 on the opening day before drawing with ambitious BSC Glasgow.

To make the task at hand even more difficult Anderson will have eight members of his squad unavailable but he will still demand that those players that are on the pitch give it everything in a bid to match EK.

He said: “Today’s game is our biggest challenge of the season so far. Not only are we playing the champions and an excellent side but we are also missing almost a full side due to holidays and injuries.

“It’s a free hit for us as nobody will give us a fighting chance. However I expect us to push them all the way.”

With so many missing out there will be opportunity for some others to step up and stake their claim for a place in the starting line-up in future.

“Keeping a large squad happy is a manager’s toughest task, however it’s never been so evident how much we need everyone”, added Anderson.

James Elliot, Andy Martin, Jason Stevens, Steven Lynch, Shaun Stevens, Craig McBride, Alex Imlah, Ewan Saunderson are the players he will have to do with out. The Victoria Park clash kicks off at 3pm tomorrow.


Unbeaten pre-season prepares Ando’s Vale for ‘top’ Stirling Uni side

After a successful pre-season, Vale manager Chris Anderson believes his side are ready for what will be a tough Lowland League opener against Stirling University.

He has presided over four wins and a draw in the club’s friendly matches, conceding only two goals. The wins came against Peebles Rovers, Tollcross Thistle, a Livingston XI and Arniston Rangers and the draw came against Haddington Athletic.

While they have been non-competitive fixtures, winning breeds confidence and can only be good preparation for bringing the curtain down on the Lowland League season at Falkirk Stadium.

Tomorrow’s opponents finished fourth in the league last season despite Vale triumphing 4-0 in the same fixture early in the season. It has often been said that university teams can be vulnerable at the start of the season when they are still waiting for some students to arrive on campus, but Ando is under no illusions about what his team will be up against.

“We are delighted with the way pre-season has gone. Obviously we are undefeated in pre-season and while it’s not all about the results in these games it is still encouraging.

“The boys have worked hard and applied themselves and hopefully we can carry that forward into the season.

“Some people might believe that it’s a good time to get a Uni team, but we know that we are up against a very good team. Last time we played them we lost, so we know that we are in for a game.

“I’m not going to think about the fact that Uni teams can struggle at the start of the season, all we need to focus on is that they were one of the top teams in the league last year and prepare accordingly”, said the manager.

The majority of last season’s Vale squad have stuck around for another season, with only goalkeeper Andy McQueen, Danny O’Donnell, Kevin Motion and Keith McLeod moving on, along with loanees Braid Raiker and Blair Atkinson returning to their parent club.

In have come Ross Gilpin, Euan Saunderson, Niall Doherty, Jon McInally, Jack Hay and Jordan Finnie and Ando has been pleased with his acquisitions.

He added: “The new signings have all fitted in really well so far. They’ve worked hard to fit into the group and we are happy with their contributions so far.

“We knew what we were getting with them – talented, hard working boys – so they will be big assets for us going forward.”

Hibernian match postponed & replaced by Haddington

Regretfully, the friendly match against Hibernian XI scheduled for Wednesday night has had to be postponed.

The Hibees suffered injuries to their Development Squad playing in the weekend’s Ronnie Swan tournament and that, coupled with call-ups to the first team squad for tonight’s friendly against Berwick Rangers, has forced their hand.

We are hopeful that we will be able to reschedule but there is nothing concrete yet.

Meanwhile, we have added another fixture to the pre-season schedule with a trip to face Haddington Athletic juniors on Saturday. The match has a 2pm kick off.