Berwick Under 20’s will begin their SPFL Development League East season tomorrow evening at the Tony Macaroni Arena, as they go head to head with Livingston.
The Livi Lions’ youth side are currently managed by former ‘Gers first-team manager Ian Little, providing another fascinating angle to the opener.
Though this is the first game of the ‘Gers’ league season, they have already featured in competitive action after being defeat 3-1 after extra time in an away defeat to Dunfermline Athletic in Scottish Youth Cup.
The game will provide Berwick with the chance to top the table on Monday evening, though should they take all 3 points, they may still drop down the rankings on Tuesday, when Raith host Forfar and Stirling Albion welcome Cowdenbeath.
Ahead of the match, Head of Youth Development Derek McKenzie has admitted he’s pleased with his squad depth – although he also admitted that there may still be another new face in the pipeline.
“I think we’ll do quite well. It’s very difficult to predict exactly what you’ll come up against as some teams will field what are virtually full first-teams, whilst some will also play really young sides.
“As far as the league season is concerned, I think we’re as well prepared as we possibly can be. There are already a number of players out on loan and it’s likely that the vast majority, if not all of the rest will join them in picking up regular Saturday football elsewhere.”
McKenzie hasn’t been shy in admitting that loan deals are key to the youth development strategy he’ll be employing at Shielfield Park, and he’s upbeat that the results are starting to show before the season has even started.
“Members of our backroom staff such as Mark Taylor have been out watching the boys at their loan sides, so it’s also providing a good opportunity for us to learn more about the players.
“The guys are also doing well too. Kyle Scott grabbed a Man of the Match for Penicuik a couple of weeks back, whilst his twin Stephen netted four in a dominant win yesterday for the same side, building on another goal he netted a couple of weeks back.
“Kieran Ingram is doing particularly well at Haddington alongside Euan Bauld, who is getting his first bit of regular football after 18 months out – that’ll help him tremendously.”
The match against Livingston will be officiated by referee Duncan Williams and his assistants Alan Hogg and Steven Wilson, and will kick-off at 7:30pm.