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Close quarters ... Meadowbank United footballer James Robinson (left) tries to get round a Mosgiel defender during a preseason game in Oamaru recently. PHOTO: DAVE NALDRETT

Meadowbank United fans can expect to see a mix of the old and new this season.

The club has teams in the South Canterbury women’s competition and in both the first and second divisions of the men’s competition.

For the men, it is a return to first division after being unable to field a top side last year, following 2016’s glorious double.

Meadowbank men’s coach Keith Roach is excited about seeing how the club performs in the league.

The squad features familiar faces such as Jeremy Ferguson and Darrell White, but many of the players are “young bloods”, and Roach is keen to see how they perform.

“The fact that the club has a very, very strong junior section this year will go well for the future, so some of the oldies can disappear at the top and bring the new ones in down the bottom.”

Training for the first and reserve teams had got off to a rocky start due to weather conditions and the unavailability of the showgrounds.

Despite that, Roach was optimistic the teams would perform well. His basic goal for both men’s teams was to finish in the top half of the league.

Roach is looking forward to seeing people from North Otago support the teams when they kick off this weekend.

“We need to make a statement to the other teams in the league that you don’t come to Oamaru and walk away with points.”

Football stalwart Chris Lynch will take charge of the women’s team, which has performed well in recent seasons.

Lynch is hopeful the women, who started training about a month ago, will acquit themselves well.

Familiar faces returning for the women’s team include Aynsley Martin, Meagan Bell, Caitlan Lee and Kayleigh Holmes.

Lynch believes good team work will help support the “spine” of the team, but he will wait until he sees w a few games before he sets specific season targets.

“After they play a few games, I’ll probably give them a few goals to aim for,” he said.

Both Meadowbank men’s teams are at home tomorrow – the firsts play the Timaru Boys’ First XI, while the reserve side plays West End B.

The Meadowbank women play Northern Hearts at Aorangi Park, in Timaru, on Sunday.