JOE CARDLE has watched three of his former team-mates appointed into managerial roles this close season and heralded it as "amazing".

And, while the Kelty Hearts winger has ambitions to one day follow them into coaching, he insists that he's not quite ready to bring an outstanding playing career to an end.

The 35-year-old, who says that he "feels 25" after a refreshing break that saw him continue to train even while on holiday, is raring to return for pre-season as he and his team-mates start preparations for another historic campaign in the club's history.

Cardle, who signed on at New Central Park last summer after leaving Partick Thistle, played a starring role in Kelty's first-ever SPFL season, which saw them win League Two with an unbeaten home record, and a 21-point gap to runners-up Forfar Athletic.

The former Pars star, who is under contract until next summer, contributed 16 goals in all competitions and was named both the PFA Scotland League Two Player of the Year, and the cinch League Two Player of the Season.

Last week, he told Press Sport of his surprise at manager Kevin Thomson's decision to resign, leaving the club seeking their third manager in as many years, with Barry Ferguson having quit following their promotion from the Lowland League to join Alloa Athletic.

John Potter, who Cardle worked with during two spells with Dunfermline, is reportedly the frontrunner to take over, although the winger himself said that he'd had "a few messages" asking whether he might even be in the running.

Stephen Husband, at Dundonald Bluebell; Rhys McCabe, with fellow League One side, Airdrieonians; and Wullie Gibson, at Queen of the South, who will also play in the third tier, are all players Cardle played alongside who have been handed permanent managerial roles in recent weeks.

But, while it is something that Cardle, who runs his own football academy in Dunfermline, wishes to pursue in time, he told Press Sport exclusively that he doesn't feel ready to hang up his boots and go down that road just yet.

"It's crazy when I saw the likes of Hubby, Rhys McCabe, Wullie Gibson, boys that I played with. You just don't expect it and it's amazing to see," he said.

"I've done all the groundwork to go into it eventually but, as I say, I still feel that I've got a lot to give as a player.

"But, when that time does come, I want to have everything in place where, when I do get the opportunity to get a job, that I've got all the fundamentals in place and I'm ready to do the job right.

"I'm enjoying playing just now. I think when you get an accolade like Player of the Year, you feel like you've still got something to give as a player.

"I think the time will come. I think it's not long until that time comes – I'm lucky enough that I've done all my badges, and I've got the academy running, that I've got this in place when the time does come – but I think I've got another year in me at least to be a full-time player."

When asked if he could see himself moving into management in the future, Cardle replied: "I think so. I think it's only right and football's all I know. It's all I've done since I left school.

"I enjoy every day in the academy. It's something that I really enjoy doing, coaching, so I think eventually, when the time does come where I do hang my boots up, it's a given that I will be involved in football in some capacity.

"The timing's got to be right. I think just now, I feel I've still got a lot to give as a player."

For now, though, Cardle is looking forward to see who will replace Thomson, who he said he enjoyed working with.

"We got great success," Cardle added.

"We won the league and that was the main aim at the start of the season when I sat down with the management staff and the owners.

"We wanted to win the league and, thankfully, we did that at the first time of asking. The manager's done a great job in doing that, but we've got to look forward.

"There's no point in dwelling on it."