Deveronvale’s Dane Ballard is hoping to start the season with a bang by notching his first competitive goal since August 2018.
The striker spent nearly 18 months on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament and tearing his meniscus.
When he did return in February of last year Ballard didn’t manage to score before the pandemic arrived.
And he was also unable to find the net in Vale’s five games during the abridged 2020-21 campaign.
Tomorrow Deveronvale start their season against Brora Rangers at Princess Royal Park and Ballard is hoping to get his first competitive goal in almost three years.
He said: “I didn’t manage to score in the competitive games I had back after my injury.
“I’ve scored in pre-season friendlies and it feels good to be knocking the ball in the net again.
“Hopefully I can get a lot more this season.
“It might be a bit emotional getting that first competitive goal back.
“Hopefully I’m not waiting too long for it and hopefully it comes in the first game and then we’ll see how I react.”
Hoping to take Cattachs scalp
Deveronvale will be underdogs against champions Brora.
But Ballard is hopeful the Banffers may be able to spring a surprise in what is Craig Stewart’s first competitive game in charge since being appointed manager on a permanent basis in January.
Ballard added: “That’s two seasons in a row we’ve got Brora first, it’s a tough start.
“But you’ve got to play everybody anyway so it doesn’t make a big difference.
“Hopefully we can put up a good show, put them under pressure and try to get a result.
“Everybody is probably looking at the game thinking ‘they’ve not got a hope.’
“So we’ve just got to go for it and see where that takes us and if we could manage to get something it might be the start of a decent run for us.”