JOE Hamill is hoping the return of two players to Haddington Athletic will prove the difference next season.

The Hi Hi were sitting fifth in East of Scotland football’s Conference A – 13 points adrift of Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale – when coronavirus saw the season brought to a premature end.

Haddington boss Hamill is planning to run with a smaller squad this season but was hopeful the experience of Shaun Hill and Scott Moffat would be beneficial to the rest of the squad.

He said: “We have spoken to a few boys about coming in for pre-season training.

“Shaun Hill and Scott Moffat came back to the club near the end of last season, before it all finished off.

“To have those two right from the start and their experience and quality is a boost.

“We are looking for them to help the young boys, we have got quite a young squad, we are looking to them to encourage the young boys.

“They will be figures to look up to because the quality they have got means they should be playing at a higher level but we are grateful we have got them.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Hill returned to Millfield after eight months at nearby Tranent Juniors and scored two goals in two games on his return.

Meanwhile, team-mate Moffat was in similarly impressive form after scoring five times in five games.

Hamill was keen to keep the nucleus of last season’s squad, with more than a dozen players already signed for the upcoming campaign; although it is unknown when that will kick-off.

The former Hearts and Livingston midfielder told Courier Sport he would be running with a smaller squad but was keen to go for quality over quantity.

Plenty remains to be decided ahead of the new East of Scotland Football League season getting underway.

No date has been set for the first round of fixtures while nine new sides have swapped the Juniors for the Seniors, with Eyemouth United also returning from abeyance.

Hamill was unsure how the teams would fit into the existing conference system but was pleased to see new teams joining the leagues.

In the meantime, he was hopeful coronavirus restrictions would continue to be eased so his players could return to training.

He said: “I’ve told them to do as much as they can and to eat well.

“It is hard and motivation goes – I’ve found that myself and today I came into the gym where I work – and everything has dragged.

“You are talking to them and as long as they go out and do a bit, once you come back to pre-season you still feel absolutely burst, but you ask the boys to eat well, look after their bodies and sleep and rest well.”