Jun 22 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
KELLO Rovers boss Ronnie Caldwell has vowed to stick with the players who won promotion last season.
Caldwell is preparing to lead the Nithside Park outfit into the Superleague First Division for the first time in the club’s history next season.
And he insists that his young Kello stars have the talent to take the West Juniors’ second tier by storm.
Caldwell said: “I am happy with the squad that we had last season and I reckon the lads can do well next season.
“They are a really talented bunch of players and I have no doubt they will cause other teams problems.
“We were missing six players for almost a full season last year yet still managed to achieve promotions.
“Having these lads back fresh for the start of the new season will be a real boost and will be like a handful of new signings.”
The Kello manager has re-signed a number of last season’s promotion winners and has also bolstered his squad with two new additions recently.
Craig Duff, son of assistant manger Colin, has joined from Muirkirk Juniors while Stuart Bell has moved to Kello from Nithsdale Wanderers.
Caldwell said: “We are delighted to get Craig and Stuart confirmed for next season.
“Both are talented boys and should do well in our team.
“We have a lad from Kirkconnel called Ian Johnston, a former youth player with Stenhousemuir, coming in for pre-season training.
“I had been watching quite a few players in the South league but the money down there is just too much for us.
“The finances in the South league are generally above and beyond what Rovers can pay.”
He added: “The rules have changed and we can now only have five substitutes, rather than seven, which will affect squad numbers.
“I may have to trim things down a little as we can only have 16 players in a matchday squad.”
Kello’s pre-season campaign kicks off in Dumfries next month when they play Crichton on July 21 before travelling to New Abbey to face Abbey Vale two days later.
Caldwell’s team will then square off against Craigmark Burntonians, Annbank and Darvel before the Ardagh Glass Cup kicks off.
The Nithside outfit will host Auchinleck Talbot, Cumnock and Glenafton in Kelloholm at the start of August, also visiting Lugar Boswell Thistle and Muirkirk.
The manager added: “The thing we are looking forward to most is the league campaign starting but the Ardagh cup is always good preparation.
“We are hosting three of the top junior sides which will be a great occasion for the fans.”