Forfar Farmington returned to training on Friday for the first pre-season session and Head Coach Damon Neish believes having a settled squad will be key to the upcoming season.
‘It’ll be good to have a year’s senior experience behind the majority of the squad, they’re a solid set of girls, we’ve got a good squad, this was the first session tonight (Friday) and there’s still four or five girls that couldn’t make tonight. We’ve got ourselves a fairly settled squad, still very young but Nivana Crighton’s come in tonight and done really well, once she’s got her legs underneath her, she’ll get even better. Gemma Collier is coming in as well so I’m looking forward to the new season.’
Neish is hopeful that Crighton and Collier will sign soon but has lost a player with 21 years at the club to league rivals Aberdeen. ‘Alana Bruce decided it was time to take up a new challenge, she’s given absolutely everything to this club, we relied really heavily on her last year and leaned on her a lot of the time and it’s time that some of the girls to learn to stand by themselves. Alana needed that challenge herself to reignite her passion for football so hopefully she gets that at Aberdeen.’
‘I’m still working on signings, Nivana is hopefully going to put pen to paper fairly soon as well as Gemma and that would give us a good size of squad. Hopefully over the course of pre-season we’ll add two more and then I’d be happy with that.’
‘You’ve got to also remember, we’ve got a lot of quality within the development team, Derrian Gollan has still to come in, Nikki Grant had a fantastic year last season, there’s cover in the goalkeeping position and lots of positions in the development team so I think we’re doing not bad.’
The side has four friendlies arranged for February, with games every Sunday against Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibernian Development and St Andrews University. The first Sunday of March will see them entertain Hutchison Vale in the League Cup. ‘We never beat them last year so I’ve never had the satisfaction of a win over them so that’s obviously the aim for the first game of the season. We know how good they are, when we played them it was never an easy game, we never had an easy minute against them so it’ll be a tough fight. We’re looking forward to it though, the girls are excited.’
Midfielder Keira Johnstone will return this season after the 16 year old spent almost the whole of 2014 out after suffering a dislocated knee in March. ‘Having her back is like a new signing, a quality new signing at that. She’s really benefitting from the gym work that we’re doing in Dundee, the injury prevention stuff to stop her going through what she went through last year, I’m really looking forward to Keira getting started.’
‘I’m really excited about the new season now, I can’t wait. It feels like it’s been a long off season and everyone’s dying to get back into it so I’m really looking forward to it.’