A NEW Under 20s team is being launched by Gala Fairydean Rovers.

And it is hoped the tie-up with Edinburgh club Salvesen will lead to a stream to of young talent progressing into the Lowland League team.

While Neil Hastings' side has competed well this season in the Lowland League, injuries and suspensions have regularly left his teamsheet threadbare.

And the inclusion of an Under 20s team to the current youth pathway system at Netherdale is seen as a step of bolstering the squad and nurturing young talent.

As well as the partnership agreement with Salvesen Community FC, highly respected franchise Coerver Coaching is also involved in the new Under 20s set up.

Ryan Cass, chairman of Gala Fairydean Rovers, said: "We at Gala Fairydean Rovers have been desperate to complete our pathway from grass roots all the way through to our lowland league side.

"This is now complete with our newly formed Under 20s team and it’s a fantastic opportunity for Borders players to compete in a highly competitive lowland development league.

"It’s so important than we bring through young talent at Gala as we don’t have the luxury of most teams in the lowland league.

"We currently lose so many great prospects at the age of between 16- and 18-year-olds as there’s a huge gap from 17s to our first team.

"The void is now filled which is great news for the club and the borders as we all want to see local talent playing for Gala.

"We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Salvesen CFC and also Coerver Coaching which will hopefully attract the best talent from the Borders and Lothians.

"We have already had a lot of interest and it’s very exciting times ahead for the club."

Former Scotland captain John Collins, who is an ambassador at Gala Fairydean Rovers, has been a coach and a champion of the Coerver method during and since his playing days.

And the 52-year-old has been instrumental in the new partnership with his former depute at Livingston, Graham Buckley taking charge of the new Under 20s team.

Ryan added: "John has huge respect for Graham.

"We have a philosophy at Gala Fairydean Rovers which is attacking attractive passing football and this will be no different at our U20s."

While there is already a pool of players coming through both the Fairydean Rovers and Salvesen age-group pathways, the coaches will be looking for new players ahead of next season.

Salvesen chairman and Under 20s coach Graham is excited by the new team.

He said: "This gives our players a pathway into Lowland League football.

"We often lose players to senior teams and I spoke to John Collins about this problem.

"He thought we could do something with Coerver and Gala Fairydean Rovers.

"I coached under John at Livingston where he introduced Coerver to the youth teams and it was an instant success.

"Ryan and myself both share the same football philosophy so it made sense to join up and create a huge pool of talented young footballers.

"My aim is to raise the profile of our youth teams and produce players for the Under 20s and eventually the first team.

"It is a very exciting project to be involved in."

The new Gala Fairydean Rovers Under 20s team will play in the East of Scotland Development League.

Any players or coaches interested in becoming involved with the new team should contact Graham on 07900 241684.