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IT HAS been less than eight weeks since the curtain came down on the 2018/19 season but Stranraer are back on the road this evening (Thursday) as the plans for the new campaign get under way.


The Blues will head to Annan – where they also contested a friendly last year – with a handful of new faces and at least one trialist expected to play.

Manager Stevie Farrell was looking forward to the matches getting under way, with his side also facing Blyth Spartans, BSC Glasgow and Coleraine ahead of the season’s opener against Falkirk.

The manager will not be in the dugout tonight, with Chris Aitken and Frank McKeown taking charge at Galabank.

Farrell said: “I will not be there tonight but I will be on Saturday (against Blyth).

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“I’m down at a conference that I cannot get out of in Liverpool and have been since Sunday.

“Frank and Chris will take the team tonight but it is good to be back.

“It is good to get the players back.

“Friendlies are exactly what they say they are – it is about getting players fit, healthy, strong and getting them back with the ball under their feet and getting them to play.

“It is about trying out one or two different things and trying out different formations and that sort of thing.

“Most importantly, it is about giving all the players, every player in the squad, game time.”

The club website spoke to Farrell just hours before the manager increased his squad size to 17.

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Carlo Pignatiello has joined on a season-long loan deal from Livingston, with the manager keen to add another two players before the competitive action gets under way.

On Wednesday evening, Farrell said: “I am hopeful I will have one if not two done by the end of this week.

“Then there will be one more.

“It is three loan players and I am in discussions with the parent clubs.

“The paperwork was getting done for one today so hopefully that will be getting completed in time for him to make his debut.

“Then, hopefully, I will have one done for the weekend, with the next one maybe tied up next week.”

The manager also paid tribute to the efforts of coach Alan Waddell, who has worked alongside Farrell at both Stranraer and Dumbarton.

Work commitments have seen the former Arthurlie man have to step aside, with former Stranraer central defender McKeown returning to the club in a coaching capacity.

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Farrell said: “I was bitterly disappointed when Alan had to give it up.

“He is as disappointed as anybody but unfortunately his work commitments are going to take him to Aberdeen for a large part of most weeks.

“He would not be at training and he just felt he could not commit and he was absolutely gutted.

“I’m disappointed and just want to place on record my thanks to Alan because he has been a big part of what we have done at Stranraer.

“He has been there through the good and the bad times so I thank him sincerely and no doubt we will work again in the future.

“Myself and Chris Aitken spoke about bringing in somebody as a replacement and we just felt that Frank ticked all the boxes.

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“He is very similar to Alan in that he is an infectious character, he gets about the players – like Alan did – and he is good socially.

“More importantly, he wants an opportunity to come in and learn the game."

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish
Get your hands on the new 2019/20 Stranraer FC Away Kit, available to pre-order online now.

The sharp-looking white and blue design makes its debut against Blyth Spartans on Saturday 29 June.

away 4

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Falkirk 3 7
2 Raith Rovers 3 6
3 Forfar Athletic 2 6
4 Airdrieonians 3 6
5 Stranraer 3 4
6 Dumbarton 3 3
7 East Fife 2 2
8 Peterhead 3 2
9 Montrose 3 1
10 Clyde 3 1


Fixtures

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)