VALE OF Leithen face arguably their biggest game in years this Saturday when they take on fellow Lowland League strugglers Gretna at Raydale Park.

The Dumfries and Galloway side, who replaced manager Rowan Alexander with Stephen Hatfield last month, are currently six points ahead of Vale.

New Vale head coach Grant Sandison is looking forward to the challenge after witnessing signs of encouragement against Edinburgh University in his first game in charge.

After a string of heavy defeats, the club, with four new faces in the starting line-up, limited the students to three goals.

But the Innerleithen side created a number of chances of their own and were unlucky to go in at half-time one goal down.

Sandison told the Peeblesshire News: “I was happy with the first-half performance against Edinburgh University.

"We set up to be organised and to stop conceding goals and I think we limited them to one shot before they scored from a direct free kick just before half-time. We created two or three good chances but in the second half we conceded early from a mistake and then ran out of steam but overall I was happy with the performance.

“We had four players making their debut, Andrew Mackay, Ben Viola and Lewis Grahame who all signed from Penicuik and Ben Brady, who had just been released by St Mirren played as a trialist.

“Ben (Viola) picked up an injury the second-half and had to go off. He’s had issues with his ankle all season and went over on it. He didn’t train on Monday night, so we’ll see how he is for Saturday.

“We have another three players lined up that we like the look of but whether they will be signed and available for Saturday, I don’t know right now. Hopefully one or two may be able to play.

“Saturday will be a massive game for the club. The Edinburgh Uni and Gretna games probably came a bit too early for us.

"It would have been better if we’d had three or four weeks with the players first, but it is what it is. I watched Gretna’s Scottish Cup game against Berwick Rangers and have received some reports on them but they have a new manager so their style of play may have changed.

“But I’ve been delighted with the response of the players so far. There has been a good reaction and there was a real enthusiasm in training. I am really looking forward to the game and it would be great to claw back some points to bring back up the road.”