Liam Burns working to improve Musselburgh this season and next
LIAM Burns admits he already has an eye on next season as Musselburgh Athletic look to challenge for the league title.
Linlithgow Rose sit 15 points clear at the top of the East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) Premier Division.
Musselburgh could close the gap to 11 if they win their two games in hand but Burns acknowledged that the West Lothian side looked well on course for the league title and the chance to reach the Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL).
The Musselburgh manager, who left a coaching role with FC Edinburgh to take the helm at Olivebank, said: “I have spoken to players about next year and trying to get boys signed.
“You have got boys who have already signed new contracts and then I’m trying to get new guys in.
“It is almost like two jobs.
“You cannot get too carried away looking to next year and then taking your eye off the ball when it is big game after big game, week on week.
“It is very much trying to get the balance right.
“There are conversations with the committee and my assistant [Wayne Sproule] and we are trying to do both.”
Musselburgh have already strengthened their team for the business end of the season with the double signing of George Hunter and Robert Wilson from League Two outfit Bonnyrigg Rose.
The duo made a two-division drop despite having played 31 games in the Midlothian team’s debut season in the Scottish Professional Football League.
Their new manager described the addition of Hunter and Wilson, who spent time at Olivebank at the end of 2019, as “massive”.
He said: “They are two Musselburgh boys who want to come and play for Musselburgh.
“Both had offers at a higher level and financially better than what we gave them is the honest truth.
“They had better financial offers in a higher league but they turned them down for me at Musselburgh – we must be doing something right in what we are offering the players.
“I have no doubt the two are desperate to play and they are at a really good age.
“They are not coming at 33 or 34 and seeing it as an early retirement.
“They are two boys who should be in their prime.
“George is 26 and Bob is about the same.
“They should be in their prime and I am absolutely delighted to get them.”
Musselburgh have enjoyed an impressive rise up the table since Burns succeeded Joe Hamill in the Burgh hot seat at the end of September.
The Honest Toun side have gone from flirting with the relegation zone to being heavily involved in a battle for second spot.
Next up for Burgh are games against relegation favourites Oakley United and Vale of Leithen over the next fortnight before facing Penicuik Athletic, who are looking to finish high up the table.
Burns, who runs Technical Edge Coaching Academy, thanked everyone for their assistance over the last four months.
He said: “I have absolutely loved it.
“It is unbelievable how much time it takes up.
“Between this and my business, with both being football, it is literally 24/7.
“You have got your own players, the committee, team selection, training, trying to bring players in – it is some amount of work!”