Sons defender Andy Dowie has his sights set on a career in coaching and management when he does eventually hang up his football boots.

And, while the experienced centre-half hopes to keep playing for at least a couple more seasons, he has already been taking important steps to ensure he is fully prepared if and when his dream opportunity does arise.

The 35-year-old recently completed his UEFA A Licence along with recent Sons signing Rory Loy after an intense year of lectures, assignments, practical sessions and five assessment days in April.

But the experience was more than worthwhile for the player, who has benefitted from working with a variety of coaches during a playing career, which has included stints at clubs such as Partick Thistle, Ross County, Dunfermline and Queen of the South.

He said: “My main focus is playing for Dumbarton and I hope to play for another two or three years as long as my body is up to it.

“I’ve been lucky to have a couple of older old school managers in Jim Jefferies and Dick Campbell and also lucky enough to work with guys like Stevie Aitken, Derek Adams, James Fowler, Jim McIntyre, and Alan Archibald, so I have had a good mix of younger and up and coming managers too.

“I have got on with every one of them and learned bits from each of them and I am continuing to learn under Stevie and Ian (Durrant).

“I’m happy to play for another couple of years, while coaching and learning and when I hang up my boots, hopefully, I will have enough experience to stand me in good stead to pick up something.

“I want to be involved in football as long as possible and the A licence was very beneficial. You learn a lot, it is tough going because there are a lot of assignments and work away from gatherings, but it’s something you need to have if you are serious about coaching - you need badges.”

As well as getting the right qualifications on his CV, Dowie has also been busy getting plenty of coaching experience behind him.

For the past year, he has been juggling life at Dumbarton with his role as a coach for EDU Sport Academy - a football performance programme, which works to develop young foreign players, mainly from France, on and off the pitch by combining high level coaching with intense English language tuition.

Dowie added: “So many want to be managers and coaches, so it’s tough, but I’m doing what I need to do and getting the experience. The more you do the better you get.

“I really enjoyed it last season at EDU Sport and I’m going to do it again this year. The guys come over at the end of August. They study at City of Glasgow College in the morning and have coaching in the afternoon.

“Dumbarton is my priority, but it works well because they train every afternoon Tuesday to Friday and then I train with Dumbarton at night. It’s ideal at the moment.

“It gives me a lot of experience with the coaching side of things. It is very challenging because there are different levels of ability and English as well. It tests you because you need to be patient because there can be a communication barrier and you need to explain things properly.”