whatley aiming to make his mark!

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Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin has added another player to his squad for next season’s assault on the League Two championship.

Central midfielder Mark Whatley has joined the club from Lowland League side Spartans.

The gaffer reckons the 23-year-old, who was Spartans’ Player of the Year last season, will be a fine acquisition for the Gayfield club.

“We tried to get Mark in January as well after we played a Uni Select when he stuck out like a sore thumb to be honest,” revealed Paul Sheerin.

“He actually scored a couple of goals against us and I was really keen to bring him in, so I am delighted it has happened now.

“He’s at a good age, has good energy, good use of the ball and he can chip in with a couple of goals, which I think you need from the middle of the park these days.”

The Lichties’ boss added that Whatley has signed a two-year deal. “I am confident he will do well and getting him on a two-year contract gives some continuity in that area of the pitch.”

However, Maroons’ fans won’t be seeing David Banjo next season. The versatile player has rejected the contract offered to him and the boss wishes him well.

“Banj was offered a deal at the end of the season, but he has chosen to try and get something elsewhere, which he’s entitled to, and I hope that it works out for him and his gamble pays off,” said Sheerin.

Meanwhile, Scottish bookmakers, McBookie.com, has installed Arbroath as the 7/2 joint second favourites with Albion Rovers to win League Two this season.

East Fife are the favourites on 3/1.

Paul Petrie, McBookie.com spokesman, commented: “It was a major shock that Arbroath were relegated last season and this is a massive one for the club. If they get a good start then we fancy them to go really close.”

Odds are: 3/1 East Fife, 7/2 Albion Rovers, 7/2 Arbroath, 7/1 Annan, 7/1 Berwick, 12/1 Clyde, 14/1 East Stirling, 16/1 Elgin, 20/1 Queens Park, 25/1 Montrose.

The players will begin pre-season training on Saturday, June 21, but the boss expects the players to be raring to go. “Most come back pretty fit. Gone are the days of them sitting in a pub for six weeks,” added the gaffer.

The first pre-season game of the season is only two weeks away with Aberdeen coming to Gayfield on Saturday, June 28.

With the Dons set to play in Europa League action the following Thursday, they are likely to bring a strong team to face the Lichties.

Hospitality is available for the match. Contact Julie Harper on 07864 195158.