John Brown took a break from his busy pre-season preparations to speak to the official website at length this evening.
The trials process has meant that the traditional 'first day back' was not really evident this summer, but the progress towards having a squad ready for the campaign continues as John explained:-
"We're getting down to the nitty gritty now. We have shifted through 700 emails and are gradually getting there. I let about 15 players go last night and now we are down to just under 30 players which we will trim again to about 20 players by the end of the week.
"Holidays have interrupted things too, as some players have managed only a couple of sessions and then had to miss out for a week. We are dealing with the reality of guys having to put their work commitments first as well.
"We are training two nights a week and a Saturday and for the time being we’re using Little Kerse, utilizing the grass pitches there."
John continued, "The time so far has been encouraging - we have managed to uncover a few gems that have impressed me. Some of them have had offers from junior clubs who have more money to offer than us but they want to try out for a senior side. Others have played senior before but, for whatever reason, have dropped out of the game and playing for Clyde is another chance for them.
"What we do have is a group of decent lads. There is a freshness and a good spirit. We will have a squad together, including several of our Under-19 squad, by the first match and we may also see some other players who were released by clubs at the end of the season come into the reckoning too. Deals anywhere are hard to come by and, again, some players may choose that it is better to play than fade away from the game altogether.
"Cumbernauld and Broadwood are working for us as well. It’s a central location that is attractive to the players and every bit helps when you are competing against other teams with more money. We can’t offer much financially bar expenses so we are asking guys to make sacrifices for a year, get themselves in the shop window by playing well and then get a deal with a bigger club."
The manager did admit some concerns, however: "The fitness is something that we will need to work on. Some of the players are at good levels, but so far fitness has been gained by playing practice matches and not the full range of normal pre-season preparations. We will just have to live with that as we need to gauge guys as footballers and not their potential as middle distance runners.
"We had a chance for a bounce game this Tuesday coming but that is a bit soon, so it's likely that we will have a match a week tonight or the following weekend to give us a proper run out before the Thistle game.
Finally, John confirmed his support of the arrival of Neil Watt: “Neil has bags of experience in the lower leagues and that will be an asset. Obviously I support anything that will be of benefit to the club. I spoke to him today, we’ve arranged to meet soon and I look forward to working with him."