One of Scotland’s oldest junior sides, Arbroath Vics, founded in 1882, are geared up for the start of the new junior season as they battle it out in the East Region’s 15 team Mcbookie.com North Division.
For manager Derek Lawson, who succeeded Jake Ferrier in October last year, this will be his first full season in charge as he attempts to better last season’s sixth place finish.
Pre-season friendlies have seen Vics pitted against teams in the higher echelons of the East and North Regions, and a strong Dundee XI.
Narrow defeats to Broughty Athletic and Forfar West End were followed by 3-0 and 4-0 losses to Carnoustie Panmure and Dundee.
However, Vics did hold Culter to a 2-2 draw in their final friendly outing.
Players who have left Ogilvy Park include last season’s top scorer, Kane Hester, who was snapped up by Arbroath during the close season, and was a regular on the Lichties’ score sheet during their pre-season friendlies.
Craig Sturrock has opted to join Montrose Roselea, as has Grant Mowatt who spent half of last season on loan from Broughty Athletic.
Midfielder Danny Ross featured in pre-season friendlies for Montrose, but as yet is unsigned as he considers his options.
To compensate, manager Derek Lawson has signed a total of eight players.
Former Vics, ASC and Forfar West End striker Ryan Owbridge has joined for a second spell as has defender Danny Brown.
Striker Liam Healy, who plied his trade with Lowland League side Edinburgh University last season, has been snapped up along with other new faces Rikki Gillespie (Arbroath CSC), Corey McCulloch (Arbroath Harp), Dale Millar (Finavon Amateurs) and Dean Shaw (Forfar Albion).
Former Forfar Albion keeper Mark Reid has put pen to paper as back up to Alex Cargill and will also take on a coaching role.
The team looks to be on the youthful side, but the centre of defence includes experienced pair Steve Florence, who was a mainstay with Arbroath for many years, and Kevin Durno.
Downfield will again be the team to beat, and but for a 15 point deduction for a registration offence last season would have won the division comfortably.
However, Blairgowrie and relegated sides Dundee North End, Kinnoull and Glenrothes are likely to be in the mix when the promotion places are settled.
For Vics anything better than last season’s sixth place would be looked upon as an improvement and a step in the right direction.