NEW Preston Athletic managers Paul Currie and Paul Montgomery are determined to help the club get into the top flight of the East of Scotland Football League.

The Panners finished one point short of winning First Division Conference B and securing a spot in the Premier Division last season.

Manager Jack Lynch has now left the club, with Currie, who played in midfield for the Pennypit side last season, and Montgomery, who led the club’s development team to a league title, tasked with steering the club in the right direction.

Montgomery, who lives in Prestonpans, was confident they could be challenging at the top of the First Division once again.

He said: “I think promotion has to be the aim.

“Obviously, the squad of players that are there are hurting for not getting up this year.

“Paul Currie is part of that playing squad and our aim is to get the club up into the Premier Division next year.

“I think it is a very hard league this year.

“You have got the top six from the two conferences joined together.

“Then, you’ve got Dunbar coming down, Newtongrange Star coming down and Whitehill Welfare and Camelon coming down.

“Obviously, they are going to be itching to get back up as soon as possible.”

Montgomery, 29, already has coaching experience both in Australia and in America, as well as working in the youth academies at Livingston and Hibernian.

Meanwhile, Currie came through the ranks at Musselburgh Windsor and played for Musselburgh Athletic, as well as turning out for Berwick Rangers, Hamilton Academical, Arbroath and Raith Rovers.

He intends to lace up the boots once again next season and was looking forward to the challenge both on and off the park.

The 37-year-old said: “I’m actually really looking forward to it.

“Obviously, it was not under the best of circumstances that we got the job but that’s football sometimes.

“It was just an opportunity we could not turn down.

“I’m really buzzing about it.

“As soon as I heard my name mentioned, Jack was the first person I wanted to talk to.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jack and he has been very good to me this season.

“I’ve known him for a good few years.

“He was the first person I thought about getting in contact with.

“It has been hard for him but he was actually really, really nice to me.”

Pre-season training starts on Tuesday, with five pre-season friendlies already lined up before the new campaign gets under way on July 30.

Musselburgh Athletic, Pumpherston Juniors and Blackburn United will all make their way to the Pennypit before Preston take on newly promoted Haddington Athletic.

A fifth friendly at Dalkeith Thistle has also been confirmed.

The new managers will be joined by John Daly as first-team coach and Montgomery said that any tough decisions would be taken between the three of them.

He added: “We will be working as a three as such.

“Everything will just be talked through and any decision so far it has been a joint decision through the three of us.”