Vale of Leithen’s new head coach Grant Sandison has been inundated by offers of support since taking over at Victoria Park earlier this week but he is under no illusions as to the size of the task ahead.

Vale are currently stranded at the foot of the Lowland League with no points from 15-games and a goal difference of minus 91, but despite their perilous position Sandison is determined to help the club avoid relegation.

“I know it will be a tough task, but we haven’t come here to prepare for next season in the East of Scotland League,” he told the Peeblesshire News.

“My aim is to avoid relegation starting with Edinburgh Uni on Saturday. Then it’s Gretna who are only six-points ahead of us and we have a game in hand, so we are starting with two massive games.

“I spoke to the players last night and told them it was up to them to show that they are willing and capable of being here. I already knew captain Mikey Robertson whom I coached at Penicuik when he was 15 and Ross Aitken who was in the Under-19s.

“Everyone will get a chance, but we plan to bring in a lot of players and I’ll use my contacts in the game to build the squad.

“Since I was appointed, I’ve had about a hundred calls from managers, coaches and players offering their support. I’ve spoken to both Hearts and Hibs about possible loan deals and John Rankin has been particularly helpful but as so many players are already out on loan that will take about eight weeks. Two players released by St Mirren will be coming along for training this week.”

The former Hamilton, Raith Rovers, Alloa and Berwick Rangers player who has been in charge of Penicuik’s Under-20s has experience of the Lowland League and is aware of what can be done with limited funds.

He continued: “I was Under-20s and assistant manager at Whitehill Welfare before Covid so I know that this is a brilliant league to be involved in and a high standard. When I look at what Neil Hastings is achieving at Gala Fairydean Rovers I think that’s kind of our benchmark and shows what can be achieved with a small budget.

“When I was first approached to take over I thought no chance but after speaking to the committee I saw that everything off the pitch is done right and the club has a good foundation.”

Sandison will be joined at Vale by his assistant from Penicuik-Ryan Brady who enjoyed a playing career at Hearts, Falkirk, Berwick Rangers and Arthurlie as well as being head coach at Edinburgh Uni 20s.

The pair will be supported by current vale coaches Aki Munro and Ryan Bisset.