Aidan Stott has been given the job of leading Burnside Heights for the next 18 months.

The Essendon District Football League club last week announced that Stott will coach the side for the remainder of the division 2 season and next year.

He replaces Tahan Rafihi, who parted ways with the club about five weeks ago.

Senior assistant coach Michael Davies has been coaching the side since then.

Bears president Justin Peagram said the club made the decision to appoint a coach now with one eye on next year.

“It was a calculated risk,” he said. “We knew we would likely get coaches apply who were with higher-division reserves or senior assistant coaches.

“We thought we’d be able to flush out a few good applicants. We had four main contenders and Aidan fitted the role. Getting in a coach now, they have the chance to assess the players and the club and look at what sort of players we need to recruit.”

Stott’s previous coaching experience includes leading St Albans to a Western Region Football League reserves premiership.

Peagram said Stott’s appointment hadn’t changed the direction the club was taking.

He said they would still be looking for big- bodied players.

The Bears are on the bottom of the 2016 ladder without a win after the first nine rounds.

“With no recruiting this season, we were always behind the eight-ball,” Peagram said.

“We’ve got some exciting players this year who are still learning and we’ve got an eye on 2017 to be competitive.

“We’ll have an aggressive plan in regards to recruiting and moving forward.”

As for the rest of this season, Peagram says the club is hoping to be more competitive.

“We haven’t had our best team on the field this season,” he said.

“We don’t have a squad of 30-plus players who are senior players. It’s been a slow process with the senior team.

“There has been a small improvement over the past month under Michael [Davies].

“We’ve been competitive in patches, but we’re three to four senior players short. We don’t have the big bodies around the ball and in the forward line.”

The Bears face Coburg Districts this weekend.