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It’s all change at Galabank

New pitch, new players and new lights

By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
It's all change at Galabank
NEW TURF . . . Roddy Eardley Junior and Roddy Eardley Senior, of Sportex Group

THE new surface at Galabank is currently being laid with the pitch expected to be ready for the start of July. Some may have noticed Annan Athletic’s old artificial pitch at the side of Galabank as sports surfacing specialists Sportex Group begin laying the replacement turf. The League Two outfit was chosen as one of 18 grassroots football facilities across Scotland to share in an initial £2 million of UK Government funding to help level up access to physical activity across the nation. The club also set aside £100,000 to help pay for the brand spanking new surface. And the pitch isn’t going to be only change at Galabank for next season as the club have installed new LED floodlights.

Annan chairman Philip Jones told the Annandale Observer the pitch is targeted to be finished by July 1, just in time for their Premier Sports Cup campaign. Mr Jones added: “The contractors are laying the pitch as we speak. The guys are working hard to get the pitch ready. I spoke to them and they said they are on schedule. “They are confident as underneath the pitch was in great condition, they were really chuffed about it. “We’ve changed the lights to LED that’s cost us around £46,000. “Hopefully it has the impact, especially in the winter when they will be used a lot. “We’re hoping to save some money with them. It’s estimated it would cut our costs to a third of what they previously were.”

As pre-season has started for the Black and Golds they have arranged a friendly with Greenock Morton at Gretna’s Raydale Park on June 25. Mr Jones added: “The team have been back in training for the past ten days. They’ve been using the MUGA and the old pitch before it was ripped up. “We’ve got a friendly against Morton to be played at Gretna on June 25. “We’re trying to arrange matches away but it’s been a bit of a struggle. We might even have to arrange another friendly at Raydale. We’ve got to get the pitch done, that’s the main priority.” And the chairman has also spoken of his delight at how the team are shaping up ahead of another season in the fourth tier. Annan announced that Aidan Smith is the latest player to commit his future to the club.The 25-year-old forward has agreed terms for another year. The ex-Queen of the South and Peterhead hitman has now made over 200 appearances for the Black and Golds and recently passed 50 goals scored for the club. Also signing a contract extension is popular winger Chris Johnston ‘The Wee Messi’ is back for another season after appearing 45 times last campaign. And midfielder Josh Galloway has signed on a pre-contract from Leeds United U23s, where he earned a move after impressing for Carlisle United’s youth side. Both players will bolster Peter Murphy’s squad by adding to the existing attacking threat. Meanwhile, Kyle Fleming has left Annan and joined League Two rivals Albion Rovers. Annan are expected to sign another player in the coming days on a two-year deal.


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