New gaffer hopes fans get behind Vale

Craig Stewart hopes supporters will return to watch Deveronvale in greater numbers – when it is safe to do so.

Although the Highland League is currently paused, when it resumes the new Banffers manager is hoping to attract more fans to Princess Royal Park.

Stewart knows in recent years attendances have dropped as Deveronvale have fallen away from being one of the sides challenging at the top end of the league.

But as one of the clubs in the Highland League who have had to play entirely behind closed doors so far this season, Stewart hopes when supporters are allowed to return there will be an increased appetite to attend.

He said: “I think there are a lot of supporters out there. I think firstly with what we’ve been through a lot of people will have missed football, not just at Deveronvale, but everywhere.

“When supporters do come back in I see it as a great opportunity and I think there will be a bit more interest with people wanting to go to games.

“I think it’s important to try to make the most of that moment and try to show the supporters coming back that there is something happening and there is a bit of drive on and off the pitch and hopefully we can build from there.”

When the 2020-21 Highland League season does restart remains to be seen. Earlier this month the SFA and Scottish Government announced the suspension of all football below the Championship until the start of next month at the earliest.

Stewart hopes the Highland League can resume soon when it is safe to do so and the shortened campaign can be completed.

However, he has warned clubs will need to given time to ensured players are properly prepared for a return to action.

Stewart added: “The target and the hope has got to be that we do return to football and play the season.

“But we need to return when it’s safe to do so, there’s the other side of it as well when it comes to returning that players are managed properly and it’s done correctly.

“There needs to some preparation I wouldn’t like to just be told ‘right we’re starting this weekend.

“Although players are keeping themselves fit, I do think they need to be conditioned and prepared properly for the restart or it could be dangerous in terms of injuries.

“Hopefully the decision will be made at the end of the month and we can go from there.”

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