EXPERIENCE from this season should help Preston Athletic push for promotion next term, according to player/manager Paul Currie.

The county side sit on the fringes of the promotion race from the East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) First Division.

A 4-0 defeat away to Luncarty on Saturday was another blow as they look to gatecrash the trio of Dunbar United, Newtongrange Star and Glenrothes who occupy the three promotion places.

However, Currie, who is in his first season in the Pennypit hot seat, was confident the team would learn from their experiences of this term and come back stronger.

East Lothian Courier: Preston Athletic (blue) face Newtongrange Star this weekendPreston Athletic (blue) face Newtongrange Star this weekend (Image: Newsquest)

He said: “I’m a realist.

“I would not sit here and say we are still definitely going to go up.

“We have dropped points in games this season where we should not have and it is going to cost us.

“I think for us [the objective] is just win as many as we can. If we can go on a run of six, seven, eight wins, we will be right in it again but it is very difficult in this league. It is very tough and there are no easy games. If I’m being realistic, maybe promotion is just a wee bit out of our reach now. It is about winning as many as we can and finishing as high as we can.

“We will get boys tied up for next season and look forward to getting a squad where our aim is promotion, minimum.

“The aim at the start of the season will be to win the league.”

The player-manager told Courier Sport that his side were not at their best during their visit to Brownlands Park.

The hosts were 2-0 up at the break and doubled their advantage in the second half as Preston had Robbie Walker sent off.

East Lothian Courier: Preston Athletic (blue) face Newtongrange Star this weekendPreston Athletic (blue) face Newtongrange Star this weekend (Image: Newsquest)

Currie said: “Just from start to finish, it was a bad day at the office. The boys just never got going.

“Luncarty played to their strengths, the park was bobbly and we encouraged the boys to try to play.

“Maybe that was not the right thing to do and Luncarty went long into their big striker, who caused us lots and lots of problems.”

Inconsistency has been a real issue for Preston this campaign, with eight wins and eight defeats from their 19 games.

It has left them three points adrift of third-placed Glenrothes but the Fife side have five games in hand over Currie’s men.

Preston had defeated Vale of Leithen, Tweedmouth Rangers and a Penicuik Athletic side in friendlies over the past fortnight as they looked to keep sharp.

Currie said that the coaching team were “so upbeat” going into the trip to Perthshire but it quickly became clear they were in for a challenging 90 minutes.

The former Musselburgh Athletic man said: “We were really looking forward to Saturday, our tails were up and we thought we were going there to win.

“Five to 10 minutes in, you could see with the lads, their first touch was not right, didn’t go past men or lost their first header.

“It is just the smallest wee things but it changes them completely.

“It is something we have to work on but the majority of the squad are young boys.

“If I am being honest, I could tell five to 10 minutes in that it was going to be a tough day.

“On our day, we can beat anybody but it is still just trying to get our heads round the inconsistency.”