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Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 11:21 UK

Seeking League status

By Martin Conaghan

Five clubs are bidding to replace Gretna in the Scottish Football League and play in Division Three next season.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Highland League champions Cove Rangers and East of Scotland League quartet Annan Athletic, Edinburgh City, Preston Athletic and Spartans are the hopeful applicants.

Ahead of the SFL vote on Thursday 3 July, BBC Sport takes a look at the candidates.

SPARTANS

Who are they? Edinburgh-based club, formed in 1951 by ex-students of Edinburgh University with the intention of fielding Uni graduates.

Spartans gave St Mirren a scare in the 2006 Scottish Cup
Spartans gave St Mirren a scare in the 2006 Scottish Cup

Where do they play? Finished third in last season's East of Scotland Football League. Their home ground is City Park, but they will be making the short move to a purpose-built ground with a new training complex.

Home colours: White shirts, red shorts, white socks

Claim to fame: Spartans drew 0-0 with St Mirren in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup at City Park in 2006, earning a replay at Love Street, where they lost 3-0.

East Stirlingshire, Alloa Athletic, Arbroath, Berwick Rangers and Queen's Park have all suffered Scottish Cup defeats at the hands of Spartans, who have more than 500 youth players on their books.

EDINBURGH CITY

Who are they? Semi-professional Edinburgh-based club, founded in 1928. Joined the SFL in 1931, but went out of business in 1955. Were eventually re-formed from Postal United in 1986.

Where do they play? Currently in the East of Scotland Football League (finished fourth last season). Their home ground is Meadowbank Stadium, built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and the former home of Meadowbank Thistle.

Home colours: White shirts, black shorts, white socks.

Claim to fame: Edinburgh City beat Hibernian 3-2 at Easter Road in the first round of the Scottish Cup on 22 January 1938.

COVE RANGERS

Who are they? Aberdeen-based senior Scottish football club formed in 1922. Obtained junior status in 1985, then quickly progressed to senior status a year later.

Where do they play? The current Highland Football League champions are based at Allan Park in Cove, a suburb of Aberdeen. Their ground is a 2,300-capacity stadium named after Allan Park, a local farmer who sold the club the land in 1948.

Home colours: Blue shirts with white sleeves, blue shorts, blue socks.

Claim to fame: They have claimed the scalps of Montrose and Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup, while they beat Edinburgh University in the third round in 2007, only to be knocked out by Ross County.

ANNAN ATHLETIC

Who are they? Senior Scottish football club based in the town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway and founded in 1942.

Annan Athletic are in the running for a place in the Third Division
Annan Athletic are in the running for a place in the Third Division

Where do they play? Finished last season seventh in the East of Scotland Football League (having switched from the South of Scotland Football League in the 1980s), based at Galabank Stadium in Annan.

Home colours: Yellow and black striped shirts, black shorts, black socks.

Claim to fame: An 18-0 victory over Newton Stewart in their last home league game of the season in 2004. Annan Athletic have qualified for the Scottish Cup seven times and were once managed by Morton boss David Irons.

PRESTON ATHLETIC

Who are they? Senior non-league football club based in the town of Prestonpans, East Lothian, founded in 1945 by the local mining community. They gained senior status in 1994.

Where do they play? Based at Pennypit Park, they finished last season fifth in the Premier Division of the East of Scotland Football League.

Home colours: 'The Panners' play in dark blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks.

Claim to fame: Twice failed to gain SFL status, Preston were the only team to take two goals off Scottish Cup runners-up Gretna in the 2006 tournament. The following year, they claimed the scalp of Stenhousemuir.

see also
Preston 'confident' of SFL spot
02 Jul 08 |  Scottish League
Annan ready to step up to SFL
29 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
Cove crave spot in Division Three
28 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
City slickers state case for SFL
30 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
Spartans seek a shot at the SFL
01 Jul 08 |  Scottish League
SFL happy with quality applicants
14 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
Five clubs bid to replace Gretna
13 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
SFA chief wants no more Gretnas
03 Jun 08 |  Scottish League
Gretna relinquish league status
03 Jun 08 |  Gretna


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