A PARTNERSHIP between Sauchie Juniors and a fellow Forth Valley club has been established to give more young athletes a clear pathway to senior football.

The Wee County side have announced a link-up with Gairdoch United to offer their emerging players the next step in their footballing career.

Sauchie manager Fraser Duncan told the Advertiser: "Gairdoch have got a really successful boys team set-up, they do really well in this area and the Falkirk area, too.

"But, they don't have an adults team. So, basically when their kids get to 18 years old, they've not got an adult team they can link in with.

"That's where the partnership comes in: We're going to link in with them."

The partnership will be mutually beneficial for both clubs, with extra opportunities for players to get game time.

Fraser continued: "Also, what's going to happen is if there are players in the Gairdoch team that aren't playing, they can come to the Sauchie team and if there are Sauchie players that aren't playing, they can go to Gairdoch.

"We can help each other, take ideas and work in partnership with each other to help each other out.

"It's great," he continued. "For us it almost doubles the amount of players we've got and the amount of kids we've got involved is huge so it's a win-win for both teams.

"Also, more coaches, more experience, it's definitely win-win. It gives us and them something that we've both been needing."

Colin McGill, one of Sauchie's 20s coaches, has a son who plays for Gairdoch's 17s team and knew their manager was looking for a club in the Falkirk area. It was from there that Fraser suggested Sauchie as a partnering club and the relationship was born.

"They were really open to the idea," Fraser continued. "And they said it would suit them better because they've got a lot of boys from the Hillfoots."

A big factor in Gairdoch's decision to link with Sauchie was the evidence of younger players having ample opportunities in Sauchie's first team squad, regardless of age.

Players like Kris Kelly, Aidan Cracknell and Jack Fisher have all seen minutes in Sauchie's squad.

Fraser continued: "That was a big thing [for them], because of the amount of boys we've took from our 20s team and gave game time to this season...that's what their boys at 16 and 17 years old are excited about.

"They see it as a chance to go and play professional football. That's where we're there for, so it's perfect."