Jun 22 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
TWO veteran strikers have been linked with summer moves to Palmerston.
Ex-Queens hitman Derek Holmes (pictured) is keen on a return to Dumfries after missing out on promotion with Airdrie United last season and has held talks with the club over a potential deal.
Holmes, 33, spent two seasons at Palmerston between 2009 and 2011, scoring 14 times in 64 appearances.
And Craig Dargo, a former teammate of Allan Johnston is eyeing a move to the Doonhamers after turning down a new contract with newly promoted Dumbarton.
Ex-Raith Rovers and Kilmarnock forward Dargo, 34, who played alongside the Queens boss at Rugby Park, scored five goals last season as the Sons won promotion to the Scottish First Division. But despite their success, Dumbarton will be staying part-time and Dargo is keen for a return to the full-time football that is on offer with Queens.
Talks are ongoing between the strikers and the management team, but with Kevin Smith, Gavin Reilly and Nicky Clark already signed up, there may only be space for one. Meanwhile, as the Doonhamers kicked off their pre-season preparations yesterday, assistant boss Sandy Clark knows full well the pressures they face.
Queens will be the only full-time team competing in the Scottish Second Division and Clark believes that this will bring big expectations.
But the former Hearts and St Johnstone boss, who joined the Dumfries club as assistant last month, insists that they are raring to go.
He said: “We know fine well what lies in store for us next season but we will be ready. Being the only full time team in the division will bring its own pressure on to us.
“But at the end of the day we have put pressure on ourselves because we have said from the start that it is our aim to win promotion at the first attempt.
“Make no mistakes, this will be extremely difficult and we will face a massive task, but we are confident in the squad that we are building.”
The ex-Hearts and Rangers star insists that further additions to the playing squad are expected.
Clark said: “When we came in it was quite clear that the squad needed freshened up a bit from last season.
“Far too often last year, the team shot themselves in the foot, but it was also clear that the quality was there.
“We could see that the nucleus of a good squad was there and fortunately we have been able to keep the spine of the team together.
“Obviously we want to inject some more quality in there, which we have managed with the signing of Willie Gibson, but four or five new faces could arrive yet.
“Hopefully we can start things off by getting a few fresh faces in for a pre-season trial very soon and then we will take things from there.
“One thing is for sure – myself, Allan and the players are all desperate to get started.”