HIS first taste of management may have resulted in an unceremonious sacking by Wishaw, but Derek Holmes is relishing getting a second bite at the cherry after taking over at Larkhall Thistle.

Despite leading Wishaw to an unprecedented spot in the Scottish Junior Cup semi-finals, the former Hearts attacker found himself removed from his post after just two months in charge as the club’s bid for promotion to the second tier faltered.

Just four weeks on, though, and Holmes is back in the dugout having been handed the reins at Gasworks Park. With the managerial merry-go-round in full swing, the man Holmes will replace, Duncan Sinclair, has since been unveiled as Arthurlie’s new manager as he takes over at Dunterlie from Billy Ogilvie.

Building upon the work Sinclair achieved over an eight-year stint on the Larkhall coaching staff would prove a daunting prospect for some. Holmes, however, insists the challenge of leading Thistle into a new era is one that excites him.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said the 39-year-old. “We’re starting back next week and hopefully we can hit the ground running.

“We’re slowly putting a good squad together, we’re a team that is optimistic but we won’t jump ahead of ourselves.

“The last management staff was in there for a number of seasons so it’s going to be a change and there’s going to be a lot of new players coming in, obviously.

“But it’s a good challenge for the players to go and showcase themselves in a very difficult league.

“It’s a new era for the club and hopefully we can take it forward.”

Holmes will cast his eye over 20 players next week as the club’s summer recruitment drive begins to ramp up.

With wholesale change on the cards, the ex-Ross County forward feels patience will be required from all involved at Larkhall.

He said: “There are going to be a lot of new faces in at the club, it’s going to take time for everyone to adapt.

“Starting from next week, I’m expecting about 20 players to be there for us to take a look.

“There’s also players that are on holiday that I’ve spoken to, others who have just recently finished because of the way their season ended that I’ve spoken to, so there will be a host of players coming in from outside.

“Plus, there are guys already at the club looking to resign and players from outwith the Junior game that we’ve asked to come in and do some training.

“We’ll have to see how they adapt, they’re obviously trying to earn themselves a contract so they’ve got to prove themselves.”

As a player, Holmes hit the back of the net with regularity and he’s hoping his new charges can stumble upon a similar goalscoring touch.

He added: “I was a striker myself so I like to play good, attractive football and try to score as many goals as possible.

“Hopefully, we can play some good football and the people of Larkhall come out and support us.”

Although his tenure at Wishaw came to an abrupt, unexpected end, Holmes reflects fondly on his brief spell with the North Lanarkshire outfit.

He concluded: “There was a lot to learn from it that I can’t really speak about but I enjoyed my time there.

“We were relatively successful as we had a small budget and managed to reach the Junior Cup semi-finals, which for a club of that size is fantastic.

“It was a good learning curve, learning about the league and the players because coming from a senior point of view, it is different. I’ve got to know a lot more players and about the teams, there is a lot to take from that and that’s one of the positives from it.”