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Preparations Continue

Bully Wee boss Jim Duffy spoke to as he reflected on the new season preparations to date…

“It has been a positive time. I was genuinely impressed by how we performed in our games against Stenhousemuir and Airdrie, especially where we passed the ball really well. I think we have only carried a report about the Stenhousemuir match as that has been our only official friendly, but there have been positives to take from every game. However, last night Queen of the South gave us a lot more to think about.”

A number of the supporters were disappointed that they were unable to get into that match against Queen of the South at Broadwood…

“I can sympathise with them and it’s disappointing but it is genuinely out with our control in view of our current circumstances. Whether it’s a crowd of 30 or 3000 a public match at Broadwood costs in the region of £2000 and for nearly all pre-season matches we cannot afford to host matches that are open to the public. It is a frustration and is not intended to be a snub to the loyal supporters but we have to be strict on those who can enter. Our landlords will not permit an open door policy on health and safety grounds and that will continue on Saturday when we face Keith. I appreciate that this does not go down well with supporters but it was a choice we regretfully had to make.

The only positive is, on the football side of things a closed door match or bounce game does have some benefits; it eliminates the risk of bookings and changes can be made more readily. Also you can have a tendency to experiment more in these matches than in games that supporters attend, so the matches have been useful. It really is all about preparing for the season and being ready to start well.”

Supporters will get an opportunity to see the team in action next Tuesday…

“Yes, Dundee come to visit next Tuesday night (16th July). It’s a 7.30pm kick off and admission prices are set at £8 for adults and £2 for under-18s/concessions. We hope that these are attractive prices for supporters to come in numbers and back the club against a team that is intent on making a quick return to the top division.”

Additions to the squad have been limited and with the squad number low it was a surprise to see reports that a number of young players are being farmed out…

“The moves aren’t 100% confirmed as we need to ensure we have enough players in our own squad to be able to compete ourselves, but the proposed moves have been largely for two reasons; limited opportunities and finance.

“In the case of someone like Gary Graham, we have an extremely talented youngster who has had a tough season as he missed out through injury for lengthy periods. Up front we have decent cover and therefore a chance for Gary to play regular football and accelerate his development is one that will benefit all parties. I look forward to him returning stronger, fitter and having benefited from competing in first team games.

“For other young players we have a stark choice – free them or keep them connected to the club. I didn’t want to lose anyone as I have faith in them but I also recognised that opportunities would be limited and financially we couldn’t afford to keep them in the stand and only feature in the occasional bounce game throughout the season. We can’t afford to run with a large squad so we need to compromise and this is the best solution

“The priority at present is to get the numbers of the first team squad to an appropriate level of cover in all areas. At present, defensively and in midfield we are not there yet but we will keep working away so we are ready for the start of the season.”