JOHNSTONE Burgh co-manager Colin Smith admits he will have to rely heavily on inexperienced players this season and expects a difficult campaign at Keanie Park.

Smith and fellow co-boss David Brolly have lost the services of key men such as midfielder Sean Fitzharris and top scorer Jason Hardie.

Meanwhile, they have drafted in a number of players from the club’s under-21 2016 Scottish Cup winning squad.

After winning promotion to the Central District First Division in 2015, Smith and Brolly guided their side to a comfortable mid-table finish last season.

However, Smith believes it will be a hard task for Burgh to improve on that this term.

He said: “You always get a bit more inconsistency with younger players until they bed in and get a bit of experience.

“But that’s what we’ve got and if it takes a season for the guys to bed in then that’s what it will be.

“Obviously we want to progress from where we were last year but we have to be realistic at the same time.

“We just need to wait and see how the league starts and how these guys perform at junior level.”

Fitzharris looks likely to move to Renfrew where he is currently on trial. However, he is yet to pen a deal at New Western Park and Smith insists the door will be open for Fitzharris to make a return to Keanie Park if Frew don’t offer him terms, however Smith isn’t holding out much hope of that being the case.

He said: “For Renfrew not to sign Sean would be crazy in my opinion. He is capable of playing at a higher level.

“I’d expect they are just assessing their squad just now and will make some changes to squeeze him in.

“I would love for Sean to come back but he is capable of playing at a higher level and he has done in the past. If he does come back, it would be absolutely brilliant for the club.

“He had two great seasons with us where he made a big difference.”

Burgh were in friendly action against Super League First Division side Yoker Athletic on Wednesday night. Despite a 4-1 defeat, Smith was pleased with some of what he saw, particularly from two midfield trialists who could be offered terms this week.

He added: “In the first half we were every bit as good as Yoker. We made six changes in the second half and that might have upset our rhythm.”

Johnstone Burgh are on the lookout for a variety of sponsors/corporate partners ahead of the new league season.

The Keanie Park side are eager to hear from either businesses or individuals who would be willing to support the club in the new campaign.

The club can offer a number of sponsorship packages such as trackside advertising, match ball sponsorship, or match sponsorship.

If you would like to help support the club call Ricky Cantwell, the club secretary on 07719 323 744.

“They are a Super League team so they were able to take advantage. I was quite happy given how early in the season it is.

“We’re looking at two players in on trial, they played against Yoker in centre midfield. They did well and we’ll have another look at them this week and make a decision.”