Walker feels Burgh are on road to glory with potent mix of talent

George Walker believes Johnstone Burgh are going places – even with a home tie in the Emirates Junior Cup.

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Chris Wozencroft brings vital experience to the Johnstone Burgh line-up
Chris Wozencroft brings vital experience to the Johnstone Burgh line-up

The Keanie Park side face Buchanhaven Hearts in their postponed Emirates Scottish Junior Cup encounter tomorrow.

Veteran gaffer George has not been slow to lavish praise on his troops following four wins from five Central District Second Division fixtures played so far.

But now he desperately wants them to transfer this sparkling early season league form to the cup showdown with their North Region opponents.

He said: "We've deliberately gone down the road of developing our own talent and the reward is there for all to see this season with a number of smashing young players on our books.

"Three teenagers in particular have caught the eye in Andy Stobo, Conor Ramsay and Lee Cochrane while the slightly older pair of Neil Dunning and Grant Kelly have also looked the part.

"A much needed nucleus of older heads is provided by Chris Wozencroft, Colin Smith and Derek Carson plus, of course, John Sherry who has only recently returned to the club after taking some time away from football.

"It's a mix of youth and experience that bodes well for the future and what's really encouraging to see is our supporters backing the players to the hilt because they can see we are moving in the right direction.

"The current bunch have a long way to go before they can stand comparison with the Burgh teams that played in cup finals and won league titles. However, there are very promising indications that we are a club on the up.

"I'm not going to make any predictions and set ourselves up for a fall other than to say I'll be very disappointed if Johnstone Burgh are not in the promotion reckoning towards the end of this season."

Walker, who steered Burgh to the Scottish Junior Cup Final back in 2000, admits he and his players will be going into unknown when facing Buchanhaven.

He admitted: "We haven't watched them in action, but that should not be taken as a mark of disrespect as it's more to do with my thinking that the outcome will be decided by what we do on the day and not them.

"We'd love to enjoy a decent cup run and it's just concerning that the likes of John Yule and Aiden Lennon are struggling to be passed fit as I'd like a full playing deck available."

This week's torrential downpours have handed Arthurlie a huge Emirates advantage after opponents Steelend Vics opted to switch tomorrow's contest to Dunterlie due to the likelihood of their own Woodside Park being deemed unplayable for a second time.

And one hears fallen giants East Kilbride Thistle are struggling on two counts ahead of their tie against Kinnoul. The game has been switched to Kinnoul as the Show Park is unplayable while several regulars have opted to leave the Central First Division bottom markers, most notably ex-Cumnock midfielder Aaron Connolly who has joined Super First Division leaders Hurlford United.

Pollok will be in the best possible condition when taking to the road for their crunch Emirates encounter against Glenafton with manager John Richardson missing only midfielder Darren Brady, who is due to have a long-standing knee problem operated on next week.

The Lok boss said: "Last week's postponement has been a blessing in disguise as Willie Sawyers and Stevie Miller would both have been unavailable if our tie had gone ahead.

"The extra seven days have also enabled Steff Reilly to get his fitness up to scratch so he'll also come into contention for a place."

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