PROMOTION and league titles are among the aims for East Lothian’s five East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) teams.

The new campaign kicks off on Saturday, with Haddington Athletic and Musselburgh Athletic battling it out in the Premier Division.

Dunbar United are keen to rejoin them after relegation on the final day of last season, while Preston Athletic narrowly missed out on promotion last time around.

Ormiston are members of the new-look Second Division.

Haddington achieved promotion from the First Division last season after going head-to-head with Leith Athletic for much of the season.

Scott Bonar was excited by the new challenge but stressed there was nothing to fear.

East Lothian Courier: Haddington Athletic (maroon) begin life in the Premier Division against Hill of Beath HawthornHaddington Athletic (maroon) begin life in the Premier Division against Hill of Beath Hawthorn

The manager said: “I am buzzing. I cannot wait to get started.

“All the hard work last year was to give us a platform to play at better stadiums, against better players, and we want to get started and get our teeth into it.”

The Hi Hi, who host Hill of Beath Hawthorn on Saturday, lost just once in 28 league games last term and Bonar wanted his team to push on once again.

He said: “The target has always got to be to win the league. If you have not got that ambition, then what is the point?”

Former Haddington manager Joe Hamill will also be desperate to build on his debut campaign in the Musselburgh hot seat.

He made the move to Olivebank from Millfield just a few weeks into last season.

The Honest Toun team finished mid-table after a promising start and Hamill has made a number of signings as he looks to shape the squad.

East Lothian Courier: Musselburgh Athletic (blue) face Crossgates Primrose tomorrowMusselburgh Athletic (blue) face Crossgates Primrose tomorrow

He said: “It has been difficult with boys away on holiday in pre-season and you are trying to work on your shape. But it is what it is and other clubs will be in the same position.

“We are looking forward to it and the boys that have been here I cannot complain about pre-season. The boys have worked hard, the games have been decent and we are looking forward to Saturday.”

Crossgates Primrose are the first visitors of the 2022/23 season before Musselburgh then hit the road to face Broxburn Athletic and Linlithgow Rose.

Dunbar United suffered final-day heartache when they were thumped 7-0 by Tynecastle and relegated to the First Division.

The Seasiders’ squad has undergone a transformation over the summer as manager Kevin Haynes aims to guide the club to an immediate return to the top flight of the EoSFL.

East Lothian Courier: Dunbar United begin the season away to Rosyth. Picture: Gordon BellDunbar United begin the season away to Rosyth. Picture: Gordon Bell

He said: “I am looking forward to playing real games again. Pre-season has its purpose but you want to play real games and get back to what I feel is unfinished business to get the club back to where it should be.

“With three spaces for promotion, the aim is to get the club right back up. It would probably seem a failed job if we don’t do that.

“I think when you start any season you aim to be the best you can be and win as many games as you can. That is no different this season.”

Dunbar open their season at Rosyth.

Last season, Preston Athletic missed out on promotion to the Premier Division by just a point on the last day.

Jack Lynch has since left the club, with new co-managers Paul Montgomery and Paul Currie tasked with gaining promotion.

East Lothian Courier: Preston Athletic travel to Glenrothes on the opening day of the seasonPreston Athletic travel to Glenrothes on the opening day of the season

Montgomery, who guided the club’s successful under-20s team last season, said: “We are raring to go now after the last pre-season game on Saturday. It is just good to get it under way and see how we get on.”

Preston wrapped up their pre-season campaign against Blackburn United on Saturday afternoon. The West Lothian side emerged 3-2 winners at the Pennypit but new Preston signing Jamie Devlin found the target twice.

Montgomery was backing his new frontman to hit the ground running and said: “We’re hoping he can do what he showed on Saturday and get us a lot of goals this year.

“He scored quite a lot for Dunbar in the top league last year and we are looking for him to go and hit 30-plus goals this year.”

Preston begin their campaign at Glenrothes.

Ormiston Primrose are the county’s sole representative in the Second Division and begin their campaign away to Heriot-Watt University.

East Lothian Courier: Ormiston are away to Heriot-Watt University on the opening day of the new league campaignOrmiston are away to Heriot-Watt University on the opening day of the new league campaign

Richie Weir, manager at the New Recreation Park side, was looking forward to the opening day but said the opposition would prove tough.

He said: “It is never the easiest team but sometimes getting them first is not too bad. Some of their players are still away and they have got a few guys from down south and Ireland.

“Sometimes it is the best time to catch them but I know their manager well. The guys he has got in the reserves are just as good players.”

Goalscoring proved a major issue for Ormiston last term, with just 21 goals in their 28 matches. However, the early signs for the coming campaign are promising, as they found the net in each of their opening six pre-season friendlies, scoring 20 goals along the way.

Weir added: “We have added a couple of strikers and hopefully they continue scoring.”