Interview with Forfar Farmington Head Coach Damon Neish: Keeping his squad whole, departing players, youth and experience & building his backroom staff

Forfar Farmington head coach Damon Neish is delighted to get the majority of last season’s squad signed up, with next season looking great so far for the side.

Just two players, Caren Webster and Murron White have departed, with veteran Nicky Grant taking some time to recover from injuries.

‘Things for next season are shaping up really well, we’ve managed to maintain almost our full squad squad, which was the main priority going forward. We built so strongly over the course of last season so my main aim was to maintain the squad and not lose too many players. We’ve done that so now we’re at the stage where we’re looking to add players, we’re in discussions with four or five players, quality players at that, so it’s shaping up really well.’

‘We’ve got our pre-season pretty much sorted, there’s three friendlies organised with a possibility of a fourth so it’s looking really good at the moment.’

‘Murron White and Caren Webster have left, Nicky Grant is taking some time, she’s had problems with her knees and all the rest of it. All of these girls, Caren, Murron, Nicky and anyone else is part of the fabric of this club, they did great things for us last year and they’ll always be welcome here. Some of them have been battling injuries and need time to recover, Murron and Nicky deserve the time to recover, Caren has other priorities outwith this club but she’s still said she’ll be available to help if we need her to and that’s the great thing about girls at this club, they’re all part of the fabric of it.’

Neish believes the side has a great blend of youth and experience, and reckons some of the younger players will be called up for the Scotland youth set up sooner or later ‘It was great to get the girls signed up, we had a few teams asking about players, quite rightly as well, in the second half of the players have been outstanding. Even some of our younger players, there was some interest in them like Derrian Gollan but these players are committed to the club for the foreseeable future, they see what I’m trying to build here and they know how important they are to it.’

‘We’ve done a lot of work to bond this team and get these girls developing together, we’re really starting to see the rewards in it now. Amy and Derrian have obviously been part of the Scotland under 17’s squad and if you ask my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before players like Jade McLaren and Lindsey Dunbar are invited up to be part of the Scotland set up. You look at players like Megan Burns, she’s been great since I came in, the rate of improvement she’s shown has been fantastic, you’ve got commitment from the likes of Fiona McNicoll and Nicola Davidson, the experienced players who are guiding these girls, the experience they provide is second to none.’

‘It’s fantastic to have these experienced players but also players like Megan, Amy, Lindsey and Sydney Cairns. Keira Johnstone also, she’s an incredibly exciting player to have come back, it’s like a new player coming into the team because she’s been out injured so long! Holly Napier in the last five or six games of the season found her shooting boots and was absolutely brilliant, these are the girls we’re now seeing develop into proper football players, not ones who just want to have a kickabout, they’re playing as a team so it’s incredible to keep them and be able to ward off interest.’

The club announced a new goalkeeping coach on Friday evening and there could be more coming in over the next few weeks ‘I’ve managed to secure Eoin Boylan as a goalkeeping coach who is based in Dundee, he’s primarily based around youth development football, he works with the 20:20 squads, the elite players in the boys game in the East Region which is great. He’s got a little bit more experience working with older players too, and he’s a goalkeeper, which is always helpful. He’s going to come in and be a great asset to the younger players, and I’d recommend him to any other clubs that might need a goalkeeping coach, he’s very good. This will be experience for him working with elite goalkeepers like Hannah Dryden and Fiona McNicoll and it’s great for the club and great for the players.’

‘I’m excited to get started on building my backroom staff, I’ve got another person coming in soon hopefully, we’ve just added an under 17’s coach and I should hopefully have an assistant joining very soon but we still need to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. It’s a fantastic time at the club, we’ve got staff joining, experienced Premier League players on the horizon and we’ve got a squad that’s going to compete.’

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