Oct 28 2011 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
GRETNA 2008 are still waiting on clearance from the English and Scottish national football bodies to sign three new defenders on loan.
The three stoppers, all from the English leagues, have been given the nod by their respective clubs to join Gretna but the process has yet to be completed by both the two FA governing organisations.
And this angered manager Stuart Rome, who only had eight first team players – including one last minute – for Saturday’s win at Leith Athletic.
He said: “This has been so frustrating as we have been waiting almost one week now for the signings to go through.
“All three of these lads have been given permission by their clubs but we are now waiting on the players being cleared by both the Scottish and English FA.
“This has been a nightmare and they are certainly not making this easy for us.”
Gretna started defender Steven Watt, signed on a one-month loan from South League side Dalbeattie Star, in Saturday’s game.
And despite the selection crisis, Gretna 2008 progressed to the final of the Alex Jack Cup last week with an impressive 3-1 win in Edinburgh.
They will play Stirling University in the final, who beat Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 2-0.
Manager Rome started four 17-year-olds in his side but goals from Ryan Coates, Phil Storey and Dan Rayson brushed Leith aside.
Rome said: “The result was fantastic and I thought our players were absolutely magnificent.
“We have four boys aged 17 in the starting line-up and one on the bench and I can’t praise them enough.
“And it wasn’t just the young lads – the senior players helped these lads throughout the game.”
He added: “Leith Athletic are a quality side, especially on their own patch, and they put us under a lot of pressure in the first 10 minutes.
“We took a lot of confidence from not conceding a goal from this early pressure and then pushed on from there.
“The lads controlled the game for the most part after this and it was a well-deserved win.
“It was an important result after the disappointment of how we lost the Threave Rovers game so I am very pleased.
“We were all pretty downbeat after that game so it is great that we were able to bounce back in this way.”
Gretna welcome back John Jardine and David Renyard back into the side following suspension for tomorrow’s game.
Edinburgh University travel to Raydale Park in what is a welcome return to league action for the manager, who insisted that the young players have presented him with a dilemma.
He said: “I have absolutely no qualms about keeping these young players in the side for Saturday’s game.
“They had never played alongside most of their team mates on Saturday but were composed and confident.”
He added: “This is only our third league game of the season which is quite unbelievable considering we are almost in November.
“And this is also our first home fixture in six games so I am glad to get playing at home and in the league.”