Paul Lovering is feeling upbeat that Benburb’s players can deliver on his call for them to “live to fight another day”.

The famous old Govan outfit are one of eight promoted clubs gearing up to make their bow in the new West Region Championship early next month and Lovering’s desire to get his playing charges up to speed has not been helped by a trio of close-season departures from New Tinto Park.

Midfield regular Aidan Ferris upped an signed for Stirling University while engine-room partner Scott Jackson (younger brother of ex-Bens duo Chris and Shane) has claimed he needs to take a break away from football and has not returned after the close season.

And facing up to the prospect of a further lengthy spell on the sidelines is highly regarded goalkeeper Lee Hollis as he continues to 
recuperate from a horrific dislocated knee injury picked up in a game against Thorniewood United towards the end of last season.

Lovering acquired a reputation as someone never to shy away from a challenge during his playing career and such is his nature that he is taking nothing but positives from how his new-look side is coming together.

The Bens gaffer was delighted with his side’s pre-season friendly comeback win against a Dundee youth side at the weekend and he insisted last night: “On Saturday we took on a Dundee Under-21 side that included a sprinkling of first-team players yet we managed to fight our way back from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2.

“The goals from Josh Meechan, Ryan Livingston and Willie McLaren were simply the icing on the cake of an overall top-notch performance and on that showing we will not be the Championship cannon-fodder that some people are tipping us to be.

“McLaren in particular was his usual busy self and very aware of the runs being made by team-mates who are thriving on what he brings to the team in the final third and I believe the signs are looking far better than I ever imagined.

“My target for the guys ever since our promotion was to try and consolidate our position in what is shaping to be a very competitive league but I may well have to readjust my sights if we can build on that first outing.

“We face a decidedly tough start against one of the title favourites Rutherglen Glencairn followed by Arthurlie two days later however the games can’t come soon enough for us.”

The 43 year old, reputed to be on the verge of signing former Rutherglen Glencairn and Maryhill goalkeeper Jack Baker, has added an injection of firepower in the shape of ex-Airdrie and Fauldhouse United striker Kyle Richard and he remains hopeful of further acquisitions .

He said: “That’s us with a squad of 17 signed players and the hope is to get our numbers up to 20 by wrapping up deals that are in the pipeline .

“Ideally I would like all our transfer business done and dusted before heading down to Ardrossan Winton Rovers this weekend to take part in the annual Dennis Donnelly Memorial game.

“It’s a special occasion for a lot of the old-stagers at our club not least of all my dad Frank so the aim is to give a good account of ourselves.”

Big story on the transfer front is Troon Juniors supposedly fixing up former Hearts and Dumbarton striker Christian Nade while Paul Cameron formerly a Scottish Junior Cup winning skipper with Hurlford United has signed for Darvel.