Keith players "hungry for success" ahead of Highland League season
Get the Grampian Online newspaper titles sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
KEITH co-manager Andy Roddie has described his side’s return to training on Saturday as “one of the best first sessions back” he has seen in management.
The session marked the beginning of the Maroons’ preparations for the upcoming season – with a return to action currently scheduled for July 10 against Fraserburgh in the delayed Aberdeenshire Cup semi final.
The final of the Aberdeenshire Cup is expected to be played on July 17, while the Highland League will begin on July 24, with fixtures confirmed on Friday.
Keith begin with a home match against Nairn County, before travelling to newly-relegated Brechin City and Moray rivals Buckie Thistle.
Boss Roddie said the players are raring to go, although he recognises the season start won’t be simple.
“All games at the beginning of the season are difficult, no matter who they are against,” he said.
“Nobody knows the level of fitness of other teams, there are new players in and old players out.
“That’s probably the case for the first round of fixtures, until everybody has played everybody.
“But our first training session back was probably one of the best I’ve seen in eight or nine years of management.
“The boys looked fit and sharp, and there was some good stuff with what little of the ball we did give them.
“It’s clear to see they are hungry for success.”
A good start in the Aberdeenshire Cup could well build the foundations for a successful season at Kynoch Park, with the winner between Keith and Fraserburgh set to play Aberdeen, Buckie Thistle or Formartine United in the final before the league campaign starts.
Before the delayed cup semi, though, it is hoped that a few new faces could join the Maroons’ squad.
Roddie added: “Myself and Tommy (Wilson, co-manager) are always looking to freshen things up.
“If players become available that will make us better we will do all we can to get them in.
“We are still speaking to two or three guys at the moment as we look to strengthen.
“It’s the same with guys wanting to move on. We won’t stand in their way and will do all we can to help them.”
With regard the league campaign, there has been much discussion about Brechin City, after they became the first club ever relegated into the Highland League.
Keith will be the first side to visit Glebe Park, which is sure to be on the bucket list of most travelling fans this campaign.
Roddie added: “Brechin have recently brought Craig Levein in to help, so we will see how they go.
“I can’t see them finding it easy and I’m sure they will know it won’t be.
“There will be a few surprises for them.
“There are a lot of good players and good teams in the Highland League.”