After a decade in management, Gary Bollan will finally get the chance to take a team to where his career started when Cowdenbeath face Dundee United at Tannadice in the Betfred Cup tonight.
However, the boyhood Tangerines fan, who had two spells as a player with the club and was an unused sub as they lifted the Scottish Cup in 1994, admits he’ll have little time for nostalgia.
Having faced East Fife and Hearts since the Betfred groups kicked off last weekend, he’ll be more concerned with the condition of his players.
“For us, this is going to be a big ask and I’m not entirely happy about it,” said the Blue Brazil boss.
“They handed us three games inside the first week, two of them against full-time clubs, and that’s a lot when you are talking about part-time players.
“Never mind the problem of tired legs and any knocks we’ve picked up, I’ll have boys who are working in the afternoon and then have to make their way to Tannadice.
“I know there’s a clash with Dundee because they’re playing Peterhead at Dens and they’re part-time as well but I think the fixtures could have been worked out so one of us was on Saturday and the other Sunday.
“That would have given us another day or two to recover and the travelling less of a hassle for the players.”
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That’s not Bollan making excuses in advance for what is likely to be a United win and he doesn’t pretend his side are anything other than massive underdogs.
“We know United are favourites. They’re full-time, have the resources and a quality squad.
“I watched their friendly at Brechin the other week and saw them again at Hearts. They are a strong side.
“They didn’t do well in the Betfred last year but there’s been a change of approach with the new owners, the new manager since then and a lot of new players.
“As a club, they’re on the up and this could be as difficult for us as playing Hearts.
“We’ll go to Tannadice and give it our best shot, try to make it hard for United and take things from there. Realistically, though, with them and Hearts in our group, if we are the team finishing behind those two we’ll have done well.”
A bit like United, for Cowden this season is all about how they do in the league and, while he’s not making any rash predictions, Gary is hoping for a promotion push.
When he arrived at Central Park two years ago, his priority was keeping them in League Two. Having done that, last term saw steady progress via a mid-table finish.
If that continues, his team might not be too far away from the top of the table.
“We’ve made a few signings over the summer and we’re going for more quality and less quantity with the squad.
“We’ve actually brought in Archie Thomas from United over the summer and I think he will do well for us in midfield.
“He’s getting used to being part-time and he hasn’t played a lot of first-team football, so he’s getting used to the pace of the game.
“I think five or six weeks into the season we’ll start to see the best of him. However, for us in general, it’s about giving a good account of ourselves in the Betfred and then starting the league well. If we do that we can have a good season.”
As for that Tannadice return, Gary admits it’s not something he’s given too much thought to.
“It will be nice to go back but it’s a long time since I left United and, as a manager, you are always thinking about how your team is going to do, so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on.”