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Interview: Darren Dolan looks ahead to Kelty tournament

Goalkeeper Darren Dolan is looking forward to this weekend’s tournament at Kelty Hearts and says he can’t wait to return to some kind of competitive football.

Sauchie will take join hosts Kelty, Broxburn Athletic and Kennoway Star Hearts for the two-day tournament, which Dolan says will provide the ultimate test ahead of the start of his side’s first season back in the Super League.

And with several players still hoping to earn deals at Beechwood Park, the keeper urged them to take their chance to impress the club’s coaching team.

Dolan said: “Saturday and Sunday will be our main test ahead of the start of the season. It will show a lot of the players exactly what we’re going to be up against in the Super League.

“Friendlies can be ok but they are nowhere near as good as playing the teams around you. Kelty are a quality team and showed that by winning the Super League last season. Kennoway were very good last season and I’m sure they’ll have strengthened after getting promoted. And Broxburn have always been tough opposition. They will be another strong side this season.

“When you are playing for a trophy it does give you an extra boost. You want to go and prove you can play at this level. Some of the players who haven’t signed yet will be looking to show Fraser, Adrian and Dougie what they can do, and this is their chance to do that.”

Dolan reckons the way Sauchie claimed the Premier League title last season shows the character in the dressing room, and he is hoping the club can now carry the momentum from their successful campaign into their return to the Super League.

He said: “The way we won the league last season just shows the mentality of the players. Things could have gone from bad to worse after relegation but the performances showed the determination to put it right.

“There has always been a fantastic spirit around the club, ever since the start of my first spell. The players and the fans have a great relationship. Players who come in are welcomed and it really is like a family club. When you come to Sauchie everyone gets behind you.

“We’re not going into the Super League just to make up the numbers. We want to prove that we’re good enough to be in the division, and that we’re capable of challenging. We have got to show that we are capable of playing at this level.”

This season will also mark Dolan’s first full campaign back at Beechwood after a spell in senior football with East Stirlingshire, and he says he can’t wait to get back to playing at what he reckons is a high level of football.

He added: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge. It’s a good league and the standard isn’t far off what you’d find in the seniors. There are a lot of really good players in the division. Some people would say coming back was a step down but it definitely wasn’t in my opinion. There are many players at this level who could easily play in Leagues One and Two.”

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