JOHNNY Harvey is keen for his side to hit the ground running when the new football season gets under way.

The East of Scotland Football League (EOSFL) season has ground to a halt, with Harvey at the helm of Tranent Juniors for a matter of weeks before games were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

His players are clocking up the miles when it comes to running and cycling as the club bids to push for league glory while more than a dozen players have signed up for next season.

Ex-Tranent striker Harvey said his job had not stopped, despite the football doing so.

He said: “We had already some players with contract extensions until next year. We are up at about 16 players re-signed for next season.

“Obviously, we are looking to add three to five players to that depending on what is available.”

The manager stressed he would not be signing players to simply make up the numbers and wanted to strengthen the squad as they prepare to push for the top of the EOSFL Premier Division.

Away from recruitment, Harvey has also been having regular virtual committee meetings. He took time to praise their efforts in ensuring the club was heading in the right direction, with history potentially being made next season with the club’s first venture into the Scottish Cup.

He added: “The committee are probably one of the most forward thinking I’ve worked with and that is not being disrespectful to others. They are always looking to make improvements whether it is new initiatives to bring supporters to the ground or ground improvements.

“It has been well documented how well the playing surface is looking and we are in conversations with a landscaper to improve that again.

“They are never sitting back and appreciating what they have got – they are trying to make it better all the time.”

Among the initiatives during the coronavirus lockdown is a series of videos, featuring various players encouraging the fans to take keep safe during the difficult period.

The club is also looking for someone to continue to improve their social media presence and Harvey stressed the importance of ensuring the club was a prominent part of the community.

He added: “Colin Dryburgh, the club treasurer, has been quite big for that and making sure I am onto the players for the videos.

“You are taking players out of their comfort zone – and me too – and speaking into your phone for these messages. It is not easy but I made an announcement when I was appointed that the fans could approach me at after match hospitality if they want to speak to me.

“It is a community club and I don’t want any supporters to be stand-offish. I want them to be part of what we are doing and to come on the journey with us.”

It is now approaching eight weeks since the Foresters Park side last played a game, with Hill of Beath Hawthorn 5-1 winners in a Challenge Cup tie. Since then, training has been scrapped, with players going from seeing each other three times a week to only virtual contact.

Harvey, who previously managed Berwick Rangers, sympathised with the players and the difficult situation they found themselves in.

He said: “I was out of football for 10 months after I left Berwick and was choking to get back involved.

“I had been back three weeks and I am now out again, basically. I know what I went through and I was not in training, mixing with the coaching staff, and it was difficult when I was used to doing it for so many years.

“The players will be desperate to get back. It is a mental thing as well – it is a release from every day pressures of life. Hopefully, things start to take a good turn in terms of Covid-19 and we get back playing as soon as possible.”