MARTIN LAUCHLAN has hailed the arrival of two experienced heads to help with the development of Rossvale’s young guns.

A rash of postponements added to cup tie obligations have led to the Bishopbriggs outfit managing to play just one league fixture since November (a 1-1 draw at home to Neilston) which has contributed in no small way to them dropping off the pace in the Central First Division title stakes.

Locky’s men have games in hand but currently trail leaders Renfrew by seven points while one point fewer separates them from second top Wishaw so he is urging his side to get themselves back in the thick of the promotion race by picking up all three points when rivals Johnstone Burgh come through to New Petershill Park on Saturday.

And his determination for Rossvale to come out on top could mean debuts for recent goalkeeper signing Jon Connolly and ex-Celtic and Feyenoord ace Bobby Petta.

Locky revealed: “At a pinch Bobby could have figured in last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie against Hurlford but his International Clearance had not come through when I contacted the SFA on Friday so we decided then and there to go without him.

“Word reached us later to say he was eligible but we felt it was too late in the day to change our game plan and neither did we think his composed and clever passing skills would be best suited against Hurlford’s physicality and hard running approach.

“ That explains why we never rushed his signing through and on hindsight I’d say it was undoubtedly the right choice, however we brought him here to help our title push and he now comes into our selection thoughts for the Burgh game after training trained alongside the other guys this week.”

The acquisition of journeyman shot-stopper Connolly (he can number 14 clubs during his playing career excluding double stints with Thorniewood United, Dunipace and St Anthony's) from Vale of Clyde last midweek raised eyebrows among the Junior fraternity but Lauchlan is confident the 35-year-old will prove his worth.

He insisted: “Our regular keeper Jordan Bowskill moved away to Australia prior to Xmas leaving us with just Chris Calder between the posts so we were on the lookout for cover and particularly someone with experience who commands his penalty area and is always communicating with the defenders in front of him.

“Jon fits the bill in this respect and we envisage him barking out instructions to keep our relatively youthful backline on their toes during general play, but predominantly at set-pieces where our concentration can be lax at times.

“Sean Doherty and Craig McGregor are outstanding prospects but they like someone telling them what to do and Jon will do that and more besides.

“In many respects I’m happy to have our cup runs at an end to allow us to concentrate on what our number one target of promotion even if points are very hard to come by in this very competitive Division.

“A table showing Johnstone Burgh down in ninth place speaks volumes because they are a decent side and more than capable of taking points from any of the teams above them…ourselves included…so nothing less than our best will do for Saturday.

In other crunch Central First Division contests, frontrunning Renfrew will not find the points easy come by away to Lesmahagow even though the Gow are likely to be missing transfer-listed skipper Ryan Docherty, while a similar tough test of their step-up credentials awaits the Chris McGroarty led Wishaw in hosting the visit to Beltane Park of a resurgent Maryhill, seeking to extend an unbeaten run of four games.

Fourth-placed St Roch's should make home advantage tell in the “Battle of the Saints” against their relegation threatened Govan counterparts and one cannot help but think fifth-top Thorniewood United are on dangerous ground away to a Neilston side boosted by the recent signings of former players Charlie Hobbs and Kieran McDade.