'Reconstruction is a bonus' - Hawick Royal Albert United boss Jordan Gracie boosted by fact his team can't be relegated this season

Despite being at the foot of East of Scotland Football League first division conference B, Hawick Royal Albert United manager Jordan Gracie isn’t at all worried about being relegated this season.

By Craig Goldthorp
Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:42 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:42 am
Hawick Royal Albert United manager Jordan Gracie (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Hawick Royal Albert United manager Jordan Gracie (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

For reconstruction of the exisiting conferences set-up – featuring clubs of wildly varying stature playing in the same divisions – into a premier division and divisions one, two and three means that Gracie’s men are assured of a place in division 2 for season 2022-23.

The Albert Park boss, 34, told The Southern Reporter: “The authorities had not been able to reorganise the leagues since all the junior teams joined, because of Covid.

"So now we have finally managed to get a full season we can get the split.

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"It’s been very difficult this season because a lot of teams joining the league have been unaware of the gulf in quality.

"So it will be good next season to be against teams that we can compete against, rather than being against teams that are right at the top end which are outwith our reach completely. They’re far too good for us.

"The reconstruction is a bonus. When I took charge of this club at the start of the season I had seven days to get a squad together.

"One week before the season started I had six players because the previous management team led by George Shephard – were basically all one group and they all left together.

"I had to recruit as many players as I could and one of the biggest problems I had was there were a lot of inexperienced guys coming in to take a place in an East of Scotland League that they’d never competed in before.

"We’d had no pre-season and I’d had zero chance to actually have a look at the squad.

"How they were going to play, the formation, who’d be suitable to play in what position, and we went into the first two months of the season having to play 10, 11, 12 games of football.

"The experienced players that I did have were unfortunately the ones who got injuries. So out of an 18-man squad this season we’ve had 12 or 13 of them injured at points.

"I had to draft in as many boys from the amateurs as I could and there were some games where myself and some of my coaches were having to fill a slot.”

United, who at Kinnoull on Saturday, host Newburgh this Friday at 7pm.