Jun 22 2012 by Jean Pedder, Stirling Observer Friday
STIRLING Albion returned to pre-season training on Tuesday night as they begin the build-up to the Third Division campaign, which kicks off at home to Annan Athletic on August 11.
The Binos then face Elgin at Borough Briggs and host Clyde and Queen's Park before the international break in early September.
Binos boss Greig McDonald said: "I think it's good that we don't have a long journey to start with and the travelling over the Christmas period is also pretty good, with a home game against Peterhead on Boxing Day and a trip to East Stirling at New Year.
“That said, I don't really worry too much about the order of the games. What I would say is that the likes of Annan, Queen's Park, Peterhead and Stranraer all look like they have strengthened since last season so we know how difficult it is going to be.
“I'm really pleased with the players we have managed to retain and the two guys we have brought in so far – David McClune and Bradley Coyne – will add quality. David missed a bit of last season because he needed a hernia operation but he looks in really good shape now.
“Bradley is due back from holiday this week and I think he is a player who will get goals for us. He did well at East Stirling and Forfar and is a confident lad.
“We have other good strikers at the club but one of our failings last season was not scoring enough goals and we need to address that”.
Albion only have two public friendlies lined up – away to Strathspey Thistle and Brora Rangers on July 20 and 21 – but McDonald has also lined up a number of closed-door matches as he bids to get his squad ready for the first competitive game against Falkirk in the Ramsdens Cup on July 28.
He added: “The plan is to train on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the moment and I also want the players to have plenty of match practice as I believe that is the best way to prepare.
“I've found sometimes that if you only have a small number of friendlies – and maybe don't play in one or two of them – then you are not at the level you want to be when the season starts.
“We've got most of the squad in place and that's important because if you pick up one or two injuries before the season starts then you need to have cover and I think we have that.
“We still need to add a left-back and I have someone in mind so hopefully there will be news on that front soon. I also plan to invite a couple of goalkeepers to training at some point in the next few weeks but we obviously only need to sign one as we already have Sam Filler”.
One player linked with a move to Forthbank who won't be joining the Binos is former Grimsby Town and Partick Thistle keeper Kenny Arthur. He has agreed a deal with Second Division Airdrie United.