LOSSIEMOUTH’s Highland League and junior football clubs are to link up and help Lossiemouth United return to action after a season in abeyance.
United dropped out of the North Junior set-up just three weeks before the start of the current season after failing to recruit a team manager.
But the town’s senior club have stepped in to help their troubled neighbours by letting them play in the juniors with Lossiemouth’s under-19 squad.
North Junior FA secretary Richard Easton confirmed that United officials contacted him in December to say they would be back up-and-running in Division 1 West next term.
And Lossiemouth manager Stevie Dunn revealed his club is aiming to use their junior partners as a pathway for local talent to progress to Highland League football.
“Our youth set-up is going to be Lossie United next season,” Dunn said. “They are going to the juniors as our under-19s, and for any young boys in the area who think they are good enough to play in the Highland League one day, we are giving them the opportunity.
“Anyone who fancies their chances would be more than welcome to come down to training.”
Lossiemouth’s under-19s, bossed by club coach John Ross, played in the Moray welfare league last year.
The team recruited youngsters like Jordan McBain and Scott Gordon, who made the step up to first team action.
Now Dunn feels more young hopefuls could make a similar journey and be the Coasters’ stars of the future. “Jordan is playing week in, week out now and the likes of Scott Miller, Liam Archibald and Ryan Farquhar are young local lads who have become regulars in the team. We’re hoping to get more boys playing for Lossie United next season, and bringing them on to this level.”
Because Lossie United retain their Scottish Junior FA membership, they will not need to re-apply to return to the junior ranks.
The club’s committee from last season, led by chairman Ken Simpson, will continue to run matters and some of United’s former players could return to the fold to offer the young squad experience.
At a recent Lossiemouth Community Council meeting, Mr Simpson raised concerns about the cost of improving facilities at the town’s playing fields – where United played their home matches – including £25,000 to erect a new fence.
But the club looks certain to retain its place in the juniors next season alongside a number of its Moray neighbours.
Lossie boss Dunn said his own club struggles to attract experienced players when bigger cash is available at other Highland League clubs.
He says the Coasters will continue to go down the youth road, and the policy is slowly paying off for the club.
“There’s a lot of money going about at other clubs and we just can’t compete with that.
“But we have a really good squad here at Lossie, team morale and spirit is good and everybody works for each other. Working with good, local players is the way to go forward.”
This Saturday, Lossie are at home to Wick Academy, who will be without a manager after Barry Wilson’s departure to Elgin City this week.
Last week’s trip to Cove was postponed, but Scott Miller, who would have been unavailable for the Aberdeen trip due to a holiday, is back and available to face Wick.