ARTHURLIE manager Chris Mackie admits he is taking a step into the unknown with his new-look squad next season - but he is confident Lie can challenge at the top of the table.

The Lie boss made 15 new signings last month in an attempt to shake up what he viewed as a lax attitude at Dunterlie Park last season.

And Mackie says he has had an instant response from his players, despite asking the squad to do four gruelling pre-season sessions per week.

He said: “Things are starting to take shape. The most pleasing thing has been the attitude of the players.

“They are taking everything on board and turning up in high numbers for training.

“Because they are doing that we have been able to work quite intensely with them in terms of how I want them to play.

“Recruitment was key to that. We started with almost a blank canvas this season and were able to look into players’ background and make sure the importance of training is spelled out to them before they signed.”

Although Mackie stopped short of setting specific goals for Lie, he admits with almost a completely new group he won’t know how strong they’ll be until they have to deal with the various adversities a junior season will inevitably throw up.

However the manager says all the early signs point towards Lie challenging for honours.

He said: “I have to be reserved in my expectations because it is such a new group, you can never tell how they are going to react to certain situations.

“There’s not been any adversity so far, no injuries, no problems in the dressing room, I’ve not had to make any big decisions.

“When these things occur we don’t yet know how this group will evolve and adapt to them.

“From what we’ve seen so far, in training and the games, it would only point to us being a really strong team next season.

“I know the standard of the league and what we have. The players really believe they can achieve something next season and I believe they can too.”