MIKEY Wilson take charge of Vale for the first time today (Saturday March 12) when Gala Fairydean Rovers visit Victoria Park and he is urging the fans to turn out in their numbers.

The Vale Committee wasted no time in appointing the former Peebles Rovers boss to replace Grant Sandison after his shock departure last weekend coincidentally following a defeat to Gala.

Wilson was previously a youth scout at Hearts and head of youth recruitment at Livingston. Since then he has been a first-team coach at Whitehill Welfare, managed Bathgate Thistle, been assistant manager at Preston Athletic and managed Craigroyston before taking over at Whitestone Park in April 2020.

Wilson said: “I heard that Grant had left and when Michael (Hogarth) called me. I want to manage at the highest level and when you look at the stature and history of Vale, apart from the last few years it was a no brainer. I’m really excited to take over. I know it’s a big job and a big ask. Some people say that it’s a free hit but that’s not how I look at it. I want to stay in the Lowland League and we have five games left to do that.

“I have done my due diligence on the squad and know a few of the players from my six years in the East of Scotland League and I know that Grant has assembled a good group.

“I’ve brought in Ross McLaren as my assistant. He has experience at Livingston, Hearts and Easthouses and I’ve known him for a while. He has fresh new ideas and his training sessions are all high-tempo and positive. And I’m also looking to bring in one more coach.

“I think the first priority is to shore up the defence, make us solid and build on that. I like to see the game played on the ground but that style depends on the player available. It’s a results driven business and I know that and I’m already considering bringing in some new faces so watch this space.

“I believe that I will bring positivity, hard-work and commitment to the club and I would urge the fans to stick with us and we can hopefully kick on.”

Vice Chairman Michael Hogarth said: “Grant (Sandison) leaving was a bombshell and we knew we had to find his replacement quickly as we are still in with a chance of staying in the Lowland League.

“There were a few enquiries but none that knew very much about the club or had any connection to the area. I knew Mike had previously shown an interest, so I contacted him on Monday night to sound him out. The committee had a number of questions which he was able to answer to our satisfaction and we were delighted to announce his appointment.

“He has done really well with no budget at Peebles Rovers who have punched above their weight. I have watched them a few times this year and they have always performed above expectation and we all feel that he is the right man for the job.”