VALE OF LEITHEN travel to Edinburgh to face Tynecastle in an East of Scotland Premier Division match on Saturday, writes John Slorance.
The Innerleithen outfit, however, are minus their manager for the past year, Robbie Horn, who is heading for Berwick instead.
Former Hearts player Horn was appointed assistant manager of Berwick Rangers at the beginning of the week and takes up his duties immediately, linking up with new Berwick team boss Ian Little for the first time when the Black and Golds entertain Stranraer at home.
Although looking forward to his new challenge, Horn, who played for Berwick for six seasons, is sorry to leave the Vale and told TheSouthern: “Getting the opportunity to be assistant manager at Berwick was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s a big step up for me and it’s just great to be given a chance like this.
“However, it’s a wrench to leave the Vale as I have really enjoyed my time with the club.
“The Vale has a great committee and I have been fortunate to have had a good background staff and good squad of players. I am confident that they will do well for the remainder of the season and I wish the club all the best.”
Vale secretary Alec Currie said: “We are sorry to see Robbie go. He has been a brilliant manager for us but we couldn’t stand in his way.
“Robbie has got the chance to go to a bigger club and the best of luck to him.
“It’s great news for him but bad news for the Vale. That’s the way it goes, though.”
Jamie Birrell, who has been second man to Horn, takes over as manager, with coach Colin Affleck assisting. Vale have Mark Wilson and Andy Martin back for the Tynecastle game, but Ricky Miller is missing. Added to the Vale squad is Steven Robertson (Whitehill Welfare).
In much need of points to haul themselves from their bottom of the table spot, Selkirk tackle Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale away from home.
Manager Mikey McKinnon has been busy during the winter break, however, and has added 18 year-old defender Connor Robb (Hawick Royal Albert) and 16-year-old striker Aaron Swailes (Gala Fairydean Under-19s) to his growing squad.
Talking of his side’s First Division clash with Berwick Rangers Reserves at Woodside Park, Kelso United manager Prof Blaikie said: “Our game last Saturday was unfortunately abandoned due to the injury of Jamie Swailes (see story on page 21) and it will be good to get a game under our belt on Saturday as we are in need of one.
“We beat Berwick on their own patch through a late goal a while back. And with home advantage there is no reason why we can’t win again.”
The Tweedsiders have Derek Burnett and Sean Angus out, along with Swailes.
Club captain Bryan Tait and the Cooper brothers, Malcolm and Luke have quit Hawick Royal Albert. The trio are not prepared to train at Bonnyrigg, which is the Royalists’ new training base.
With Andrew Maltman and Craig Wilson having left the previous week, the Hawick squad has been cut down considerably. The Teries will field several trialists for their Friday evening encounter against Heriot Watt University at Albert Park.
Elsewhere in the First Division, Peebles Rovers host Eyemouth United at Whitestone Park.