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Deveronvale player boss Garry Wood joins seven summer signings at Princess Royal Park and has his eye on more Highland League captures

By Craig Christie

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Seven summer signings won’t be an end to business as far as Deveronvale manager Garry Wood is concerned.

Dem Yunus could be a key signing for Deveronvale next term. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Dem Yunus could be a key signing for Deveronvale next term. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The new man in charge at Princess Royal Park got his first look at his close season captures during Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Lochee United.

With Wood starting the game, he is effectively an eight fresh face in the pool but he is keen to take even more new bodies in once he assesses the current crop of players at the Banff club.

“I am still working on things in the background,” he said. “There’s nothing immediate, it’s more waiting for other clubs because it is a difficult market because no-one wants to let players go until they get guys in so we are going to have to be patient on our next signings.

“I will look at the loan market as well and it depends on who is available and how that will work with our squad. All options are available.

“Everyone has come back in good shape having put in the work before pre-season so that has made my life a bit easier. All of the effort and commitment they have shown so far has been good and we have seen some good patterns of play in the first game, which is pleasing.”

Oleg Dlugosz and Jack Mitchell netted the goals in Dundee on Saturday, with Wood getting a first look at his new crop of players from both on the pitch and on the sidelines.

He played the first 45 minutes himself, then stepped off the pitch to join new assistant coach Grant Noble and first team coach Graeme Watt in the technical area.

“I started the game and it was pre-planned for me to come off at half time. It was good to see what it was like, managing on the park and then going to the sidelines for my first taste of that and it seemed to work out well.

“If the players are doing the business, I’ve got no issues sitting at the side because ultimately my job is the manager.”

Wood has high hopes for new main striker Adam Reid, who netted more than 70 goals for Sunnybank over the past two seasons in the north juniors. Defensive midfielder Logan Tough is another to come on board from the Aberdeen side.

Centre back Kyle Dalling will be keen to have an injury-free season after a stop-start couple of years since leaving Aberdeen, with loan spells at Elgin City, a permanent deal at Huntly and a loan spell with Vale in the second half of last term.

Attacker Sam Mair has stepped up from Islavale as has midfielder Keane Davidson, recruited by Noble who played alongside him for a spell at Deveronside last term.

Ex-Turriff full back Murray Esson is another returning to the Highland League ranks with Vale after a spell at Maud, while Wood expects central midfielder Dem Yunus to recapture the solid form he showed at Keith before joining Inverurie Locos for a season.

“Dem is looking really sharp so far and he will be a key player for us this year,” Wood said. “It didn't quite work out for him at Locos. I was there with him at the time and from what I’ve seen in training and yesterday’s game, he’s got that dig back and hopefully that can continue.

“We are sitting with a squad of 21 which is quite a large squad so we will have to cut that down before we can get anyone else in. I want to get a proper look at everyone in pre-season and then make my decisions as opposed to what I’ve heard from people.”

Wood is thrilled to have recruited two former Vale players - Grant Noble and Graeme Watt - as his right hand men in the management team.

“Grant and Graeme were part of it (as caretaker managers) at the end of last season and they are all going to be valuable to me and I will lean on them for their parts to get involved with me.”

Vale are also close to appointing a goalkeeping coach, possibly in the next week.

Next warm-up game is tonight (Tuesday) at Islavale, where Wood plans to start with the bulk of his squad who didn’t start at Lochee.

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