New Lewis and Harris FC gaffer Kevin Anderson has called in the cavalry and welcomed back the big-guns for today’s (Saturday) Jock Mackay Cup quarter-final clash against Invergordon.
Naming a strong looking 19-man provisional pool for the tie which was due to be trimmed to a match squad of 16 Anderson was in confident mood.
Among the players named in the provisional squad are Carloway captain Domhnall Mackay, Lochs player manager David Macmillan, Dan Crossley, Stewart Munro and West Side skipper Duncan Maclean.
“I can’t wait to get started,” beamed Anderson who is clearly thrilled to have been given the chance to boss the Lewis and Harris representative sides.
“But I have my doubts whether the game will go ahead the way the rain has been coming down. The pitches will probably be in a poor state after all the water and this week hasn’t been great either.
“I really hope it does go ahead though, as if it doesn’t it may not be rescheduled for months.”
Anderson showed with Carloway, who he led initially to a first senior football trophy in more than 50 years, before storming a year later to a first ever league championship, that he builds sides on the foundation stones of urgency and initiative and to the attack from the start of a game.
For fans of Na Gormaich to live through the 2012 and 2013 seasons was the equivalent of footballing heaven.
Now all football fans on Lewis and Harris can rally behind Anderson as he looks to steer the representative side, with players plucked from all clubs and districts across both islands to cup glory in the Jock Mackay Cup.
Success was engineered rather than inherited, which is infinitely harder and now he has set his sights on silverware on the other side of the Minch.
“The Lewis and Harris Select, and Lewis and Harris FC, should have a pool of the best players in the league and that’s what we are trying to do with our squad and we hope to have as strong a pool of 16 as possible,” explained Anderson.
“I have named a squad of 19 provisionally with the intention to trim that to 16 following a final training session on Wednesday night. But some of the players in the 19 may not be fully fit which would make the selection easier. There are one or two on the list who I have to be careful with.”
Anderson was nominated into, and subsequently accepted, the role of Lewis and Harris manager at last week’s AGM so he has had little time with the players or to get used to his new position, but despite the fast approaching Invergordon tie - this Saturday, December 12 - he is optimisitc and reassured by the response he has had.
“As I only came into the position a week ago I’ve only been able to organise two training sessions for which I invited a number of players,” he continued.
“I knew it was short notice for a few who have maybe not been training much through the winter bu the turnout has been brilliant for me and I’ve been really pleased with the response.
“I don’t know too much about Invergordon although the boys who were involved in the last cup against them like Peter Mackenzie have told me a few bits and pieces and ‘Bugsy’ has also been good with a little information on them.
“But who is to say it will be the same players we come up against this time. It could be a totally different line-up so I’d rather concentrate on ourselves and getting Lewis and Harris ready and we will then see what happens with Invergordon on the day.”
He added: “Both Tyson and I are really excited to get this chance and we can’t wait. We aren’t planning on just going over for a game – we want to try and win the cup and we will give it our best.”