North Ayrshire Wild have confirmed that player/coach Scott Cowan has agreed to return for a third season at the helm of the team.
Wild finished eighth in the Scottish National League (SNL) last term, although they were unfortunate not to secure a much higher position.
Four of their defeats were by a margin of two goals or less and they were the only team in the bottom half of the table to end the campaign with a positive goal difference.
Wild also reached the semi-finals of the Stuart Robertson Cup (SRC) to leave club chairman Scott Campbell confident that Cowan is the right man to take the team forward.
“Last season ended with a disappointing play-off exit against Solway Sharks, but the overall feeling was that we continued to improve under Scott’s guidance,” he said.
“He has a passion and a hunger for the game that has not diminished, and we’re delighted he has agreed to sign on for another season.
“The core of the team is still relatively young and inexperienced, but when you have 19 and 20-year-olds entering their fourth SNL season that can only bode well for the future.
“A large core of last year’s squad has already committed to return for the 2020/21 season, although a few will sadly not be back.
“The standard of the league continues to improve and this is something we are embracing – it needs to be taken more seriously than ever before.
“Moving to two training sessions a week will help the team become more competitive, and hopefully see us manage to play for a full sixty minutes in each game, which was something of a challenge last season.
“We also have some young players coming through the club’s development programme that will make their debuts this season.
“This is something we are committed to doing every year, as and when the players are ready to step up and play at this level.”
North Ayrshire’s commitment to development saw two of the club’s junior teams progress to the Scottish Cup Finals in their respective age groups last season.
Having laid solid foundations with the senior side over the past couple of years, Cowan believes the club is well-placed to continue growing.
“I’m excited about the new season ahead,” he said. “We are now entering our third year as a group, having started with a five-year plan to stabilise and build a competitive SNL team.
“With some players leaving it gives a good opportunity for others to step up and creates room for upcoming youngsters to get some regular ice time.
“This will help to produce a new younger core to the team that will last for the future.”
(Image permission: Derek Black)