Consistency can be very hard to find in football. Certainly, managers at the top level are often heard bemoaning their sides’ lack it. So there is no shame in a youth team finding themselves in the same position.
Easthouses’ 2001s manager, John McCarry, prefers to use his team’s form in the second half of last season as evidence that they are capable of mounting a title challenge in the South East Region Division 2. Despite an impressive end to the campaign, the Midlothian men finished in mid-table. A little more consistency, and McCarry’s ambitions may be realised.
He said: "Although we finished mid-table we had a very strong second half of the season. The lads applied themselves and adapted to a new formation very well, improving every week. In particular, the passing and movement of the team was, at times, a joy to behold.
"The high point of last season was beating the league winners. There was no real low point other than ending the season with a defeat. For various reasons, we were missing a few lads."
While he believes his team is capable of lifting the league trophy, he also takes a pragmatic view about the targets for the season. At youth level, the most important thing is always player development.
"Our results in the second part of last season would suggest that we can compete for the title. Winning it is our goal but as long as we continue to improve the team as a whole and the players as individuals we will be happy. We would also hope to be involved in the latter stages of the cups come the end of the season and hopefully win one," McCarry said.
Whilst tipping his men to be challengers, he also named Gala Fairydean Rovers, AC Oxgangs and Kirkliston South Queensferry as teams he expected to be in amongst it.
McCarry continued: “The overall standard in the league is very good and in my opinion all the teams are capable of beating each other. I would not rule any club out of the running.”
In modern football, much is made of the importance of the fitness of players and sports science is now heavily used. The Houses gaffer revealed that there has been a professional approach adopted by many of his players. They returned for pre-season in good shape, with several of them having trained during the close season, resisting the temptation to switch off. The plan now is to arrange six pre-season friendlies, as well as taking part in the Glasgow City Cup.
Easthouses have added to their squad from last season. The manager revealed: "We have re-signed the majority of last season’s pool and added a couple of players, giving us what we feel is a strong squad. You can never rule out adding a player if he becomes available but we feel all of our current pool can contribute to what we are confident will be a good season."
They will be hoping a beefed up squad can help them perform for the full season.