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.”