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Boss evaluates new recruits

STEVIE Farrell is keen to add another half a dozen players to his Stranraer squad ahead of the new season.

The manager has been busy in recent weeks as he looks to rebuild the side that was demoted to League Two.

Players including Max Currie, David Smith, Ryan Thomson, Jordan Allan, Carlo Pignatiello and Denny Johnstone have already left the Blues.

However, Farrell has wasted no time in recruiting Jamie Walker, Ayrton Sonkur, Kieran Millar, Thomas Orr and Ruari Paton to go alongside more than half a dozen members of last year’s team.

The manager said “the jigsaw is coming together quite well” and added: “We’ve got a couple more deals agreed.

“With those two agreed, we are probably looking at bringing in another four.

“We want to try to get, probably, a squad of 19.

“We want to try to have that balance between offensive and defensive.”

The manager spoke to the club website about his latest recruits.

Young goalkeeper Walker has agreed a deal after being released by Kilmarnock.

The manager said the teenage goalkeeper was in a similar situation to Currie, who made the move to Airdrie last month after playing almost 100 games for the Blues.

Farrell said: “Jamie is a similar project to Max Currie and he is coming in after being released and that disappointment of being released by a Premier Division club.

“The likelihood is Jamie going to come in and work with an experienced goalkeeper because I have agreed a deal with an experienced goalkeeper but for furlough reasons we cannot announce him until a later date.

“Jamie is going to come in and work with Eric Phillips and the experienced goalkeeper for the next year to 18 months and hopefully get the same opportunities that Max and David Mitchell got before him.”

In front of him will be fellow new recruit Sonkur, who will make the move from one end of Dumfries and Galloway to the other.

The former Annan defender is one that has been on Farrell’s shopping list for a while.

He said: “I tried to get Ayrton signed last year.

“I have been chasing him for probably the last 18 months.

“He is a wee bit different to the centre halves we have already got at the club.

“One, he is younger; two, he is very aggressive, very dominant in the air and likes to go and attack things; three, he is just a wee bit different to the centre halves we have got at the club.

“I am delighted to get him in and he is at an age where I believe he can do what other young players have done at Stranraer in recent years and come in, play, progress and go and kick on to another higher level.”

Joining the midfield ranks is Millar, who has moved in the opposite direction to Currie.

Farrell was delighted to bring in the former Diamond and described him as “a top class player”.

He said: “I think somebody described Kieran as a brilliant team mate and I did my research about him and I think that was fed back to me from most folk who have played with him.

“He does the bit of the game that other players don’t particularly do that well.

“He gets in people’s faces, makes tackles, breaks things up, he has great energy levels, he is not a nice player to play against because he does not give you a minute on the ball when in possession and also when he gets possession he can play.

“He is a comfortable footballer.

“Also, he has played with some of our players.

“He has played against most of our senior players but he has played with Grant Gallagher and Scott Robertson, who speak very highly of him.”

Stranraer’s strikeforce has also undergone a revamp, with two new signings making the move from the Lowland League.

Orr, like Sonkur, is someone that Farrell has been keen to land for a number of months.

Farrell said: “I tried to get Thomas Orr in January.

“The thing with Thomas Orr is he has got into the habit, a very good habit, in the last 18 months of scoring goals.

“One of the things aimed at us last year was that we did not have enough goals in our team.

“I don’t disagree with that at all.

“One of the things we did over the summer was to identify players who are proven and have goals in their game and Thomas has got goals in his game.

“He has had two good seasons at BSC Glasgow.

“He has done very well and he has had a taste of League Two football when he was a kid.

“Now, he has matured and I think he is at the right age to come in and do very well for us.”

Finally, Orr’s strike partner could be fellow new signing Paton.

The youngster began his career in Scotland with Hibs but had caught the eye of two former Stranraer fan favourites while at East Kilbride.

Farrell said: “The biggest advocate of Ruari is probably one of the best goalscorers Stranraer have ever had in Craig Malcolm.

“Craig and Sean Winter have been very complimentary of Ruari and how good a player he is and the potential he has got to be a top class player.

“Craig says, having played with him, Ruari is one of the hardest working players he has ever played with.

“The other thing he has got in his armoury is that he knows where the goals are.

“He scores goals.

“There was a League One club, a couple of League Two clubs and a couple of Lowland League clubs interested in Ruari.”

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