Craig Scott speaks to Dan Whalen...
Dunston UTS FC defender and all round top quality bloke Craig Scott speaks to Danny Whalen ahead of an exciting season, as Dunston embark upon their first season in The BetVictor North West Division and Saturdays opening match of the season against near neighbours Consett AFC in the extra preliminary round of The Emirates FA Cup.

DW - Dunston faced some stern tests during pre-season and came out with some impressive results against sides higher up in the leagues. How do you feel this has prepared the team ahead of the coming season?

CS - I think it’s exactly what we needed to set the expectations of being in a higher league this season. Morpeth, South Shields & Spennymoor in particular are great local teams who have been there and done it, so playing against them and doing well can only be a good thing for the season ahead.

DW - Considering the progress those teams have achieved over recent seasons, what are your thoughts on Dunston’s chances to emulate them this season?

CS - Going off pre-season performances against those teams, I’d say we have a great chance. One of the most important things was keeping last season’s squad together, so credit to the management and club for doing that. The additional travel and commitments of the league will be new to most, but if we can overcome that then I’ve no doubt we’ll be in for a strong season.
Craig Scott
DW - having played in the Northern League for years, moving into The BetVictor League is a bit of a voyage into the unknown. What do you know about the teams in the League and who do you see as the sides to watch out for?

CS - It’s a totally new level of football for most on the team, and it’s guaranteed to be a tough, physical league but we are excited for the challenge. It’s great to see us as favourites to win the league on BetVictor, and I’m sure other clubs in the league will be watching us closely. The likes of Marine and Workington are experienced sides at this level though so we have to go into every game almost with the underdog attitude.

DW - Looking ahead this to coming Saturday, we make the short trip to Consett in The FA Cup. Consett were one of the few sides last season who posed a threat to us in terms of winning the League. What are your thoughts ahead of the game?

CS - We are under no illusions that it will be a tough game. Consett have a good side and obviously it’s up at Belle Vue which is always a hard place to go. That said, the lads are desperate for another FA cup run and if we play like we have done in pre- season and with the same mentality, I think we stand a great chance of progressing to the next round.

DW - Last season Dunston defied expectations to reach the the 4th qualifying round. Does last season’s performance in the FA Cup come with added pressure as opponents may be looking at Dunston as a big scalp to take?

CS - Maybe some clubs will want to put us out early but I don’t think that adds any pressure onto us. Everyone knows that last seasons run was great, and if we can repeat anything like that whilst competing in a higher league then it would be a massive bonus for the club. As a team we’ll simply continue to go out to win every game like we did last season.

DW - As we go into this season what’s the mood like in the dressing room and what are your thoughts on the club?

CS - All the players are buzzing for the start of the new season, now even more so after seeing the Northern League start last weekend. We lost a couple of big players in the summer who will be missed, but fair play to Swaz and Chris as they have brought in some real quality with the likes of Pagey and Callum Smith.The general atmosphere in the dressing room is brilliant, and what I’ve enjoyed most is how strong the relationship is between the players, management, committee and the fans. Everyone wants the best for Dunston, and no matter what the result the clubhouse is always packed...long may it continue.

Craig Scott is proudly sponsored by: Alan Stott, Billy Irwin Painter and Decorator and McDonald Divine Sorbets.