Yoker Athletic assistant manager Graeme George wants to build a side that’s stronger than last year, as they target an immediate return to the second tier.

The Whe-Ho were relegated on the last day of the season, failing to get the point needed to survive.

The rebuilding job is under way, with Athletic signing up the core of last seasons squad, this week re-signing James Ross and Liam Campbell.

Finishing so late in the season has made it difficult for Yoker to sign players, after playing two or three weeks extra compared to other teams.

He said: “That’s had the biggest impact, the fact we’ve finished so late. The boys are just getting their holidays in before they start back.

“We’re trying not to be right on top of them, but at the same time we’re trying to get a team together. We’ve spoken to a couple of people, and we start back on Saturday at pre-season.

“It’ll be a very tough league again but it obviously opens it up a little bit. Our aim is to win the division. That’s the target, second or third would be okay but we want to win the division.

“If we can keep most of the squad and our intention is to have a stronger squad than last year.

“The team we had last year managed to beat a couple of the better teams in this division in the cup towards the end of the season.

“The theory is if we have a stronger team than last year that should be enough, but that doesn’t mean the other teams in the division won’t strengthen either though.”

Yoker have made a change in their signing policy this year, as they look to keep the same starting eleven week in week out.

He added: “The biggest thing we’re trying to do this year is get a consistent team selection on the park, maybe in the last couple of seasons we’ve accommodated boys a bit too much in terms of boys working away or missing training.

“That’s probably been part of the reason it’s been a bit slower getting people in because we want to make sure everybody can play nine times out of 10.”

The assistant also revealed John Harvey was unlikely to return, with the defender likely to hang up his boots.

He said: “I spoke to John last week and he said his time is up basically with work commitments and other things.

“He’ll still be a huge loss as his experience would have been massive for us. He’s one we’re going to have to work really hard to replace him.”

Yoker begin their pre-season fixtures at home to Clydebank Amateurs on July 22 at Clydebank High.

They then travel to St Antony’s on July 26, lastly playing Antonine under-21s at Holm Park on July 29.