stevie clyde

IT IS just a matter of hours since Stranraer returned to pre-season training, with Stevie Farrell still looking to add three new faces to his squad.

Friday's signings of Leon Murphy and Ian Smith took the squad to 16, with the manager working on boosting that number.

Farrell said: “This has been a busy five or six weeks; it has been non-stop.

“I think it has been busier than usual because I have been doing most of it myself this year.

“In recent years, I have had Stuart Millar and the two of us have been bouncing off each other and Stuart had been doing a lot of the donkey work and making the calls.

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“That was his role and he has obviously left the club and has been doing that at another club.

“So, it has been left to me to do it all this year.

“It has been enjoyable but it has been time consuming and you are trying to juggle two jobs while doing this as well.

“For every ten players you speak to, you probably only sign two.”

The squad have now returned to training, with the first friendly away to Annan Athletic less than two weeks away.

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Further friendlies against Blyth Spartans, BSC Glasgow and Coleraine have also been lined up before the season gets under way against Falkirk in the Betfred Cup.

While some managers build up to introducing the football to the players once again in pre-season, Farrell was looking to get down to business as quickly as possible.

He said: “With me, the ball comes out straight away.

“I just don’t believe you do anything in football without the ball.

“We will work hard, we will work extremely hard, during pre-season in relation to the ball.

“That’s the way I train and the way I believe and the boys know that.

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“I think that is one of the things that they enjoy at this club is the training.”

Already, the Blues have brought in Scott Robertson, Jordan Allan, Lee Hamilton, James Hilton, Grant Gallagher, Mark Stewart and Dale Burgess, as well as Murphy, who has joined on loan from Ayr United until January.

The manager was not satisfied with that though and had targets in mind.

He said: “Nineteen is always my squad at part-time level.

“I always look to have a squad of 19 and work with a squad of 19.

“Undoubtedly you are going to pick up injuries and during the course of the season there will be suspensions.

“I like the number of 19 and we are three away from that.

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“I’ve got a striker potentially coming in on loan but that will not be until, probably, the middle of July and I’m speaking to another striker on Sunday when he returns from holiday.

“Hopefully, I will get him tied up in the middle of next week.”

One man who very much has a future at Stair Park is Ally McColm, who will spend the coming season at Kilwinning Rangers.

Farrell was hopeful McColm, who made his debut against Brechin City in the penultimate home game of last season, would benefit from time with The Buffs.

He said: “I believe he is very, very similar to Cammy Elliott where Cammy was a year ago.

“I just didn’t think Cammy was quite ready to play League One football week in, week out.

“I don’t think there is any benefit in Ally McColm coming in with the first team and sitting on the bench most weeks.

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“I think there is a benefit for him to go and play in the top league in the Juniors.

“There is an improvement in standard, undoubtedly, from what he was playing in last year and he is going to probably a top six club in that division.

“He has got an opportunity and I will get regular reports from the manager, who is a good friend of mine in Chris Strain.”

Photos: Stranraer FC

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 13 24
2 East Fife 13 24
3 Airdrieonians 13 23
4 Falkirk 13 22
5 Montrose 13 19
6 Dumbarton 13 17
7 Clyde 13 16
8 Peterhead 13 15
9 Stranraer 13 10
10 Forfar Athletic 13 10


2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Mark Stewart (STR)
10 - Leon Murphy (MID)
11 - Ian Smith (MID)
12 - Carlo Pignatiello (MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (STR)
15 - Robert Jones (STR)

17 - David Smith (DEF)
18 - David Dangana (STR)
21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)