With the first friendly of the pre-season rapidly approaching, Carnoustie Panmure manager Ian Gilzean is in a positive frame of mind.
The match is at Allan Park tomorrow (Saturday) against Highland League third place finishers Cove Rangers.
Ian is happy with the way training has been progressing to date, and will have seven training sessions under his belt before the team face Cove.
He said: “Training has gone well. We were up at Monikie on Saturday which was nice until we got caught in a thunderstorm, but I reckon that cooled the lads down a bit.
“On Thursday they worked really hard and this Thursday we’ll be looking to sharpen up a bit in preparation for the game on Saturday.”
However, the Gowfer’s are missing several players this weekend, with Kev Cummings, Greg Beattie, Mike McIlravey and Josh Perera all absent.
A more permanent absence comes in the form of Scott Hunter, who is off to join the police. Ian said: “It would be unfair to ask Scotty to play during his training for the police, so he’s going to be unavailable for the foreseeable future.”
The boss is less concerned about the scoreline than he is about the opportunities for his team to grow.
He said: “I think it’s neither here nor there if we win. The important thing is that we get 90 minutes of football under our belts and use this as an opportunity to work on our fitness.
“Of course I’d rather have a full squad on Saturday, especially against Cove, as they have had some good results lately, and they are a couple of weeks ahead with their pre-season.
“As I said, though, for us it’s more about getting the 90 minutes of game time under our belts and this is where we’ll gain the benefits.”
The holes in the team sheet will however give the new players a chance to shine, and Ian is keen to see Danny Millar and Stuart Ferguson perform.
He said: “Fergie and Danny are looking sharp and fit, and I’ll make sure they get out and play some of the game.”
He also stressed the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in the face of a new season. The manager stated: “You need to go into every game believing that you’re good enough to compete, otherwise it’s not worth it. I’m looking forward to the game.
“At the end of the day it’s just 11 men against 11 men, and the players with the most passion, desire and hunger for the ball will be the winners.
“I’m expecting a good display from the boys, and a good team performance.
“We’re stepping up this season, so we need to be able to cope with different things.
“Wherever we play this term we’re going to have to adapt, not just to the new pitches but the new teams.”
The only question mark still remaining for the new season is the fate of Brian Clark.
Ian said: “Brian’s still training up at Montrose, [manager] Ray Farningham knew him at Dundee and that’s why they brought him in for a trial.
“He played 30 minutes on Saturday against Raith, and he might feature tonight (Tuesday) against a Dundee United IX.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. If they don’t offer him a deal then we’ll look to bringing him back on board.
“This is something that he’s got to decide for himself. The step up to senior football is always something to think about, and we’ve never stood in the way of that.”
The match against Cove Rangers will kick off at 3 p.m. at Allan Park tomorrow (Saturday) and will be followed by two home friendlies.
The first is against a Dundee United XI on Saturday, July 23, and the other against East of Scotland League side Edinburgh University on Saturday, July 30.
Both will start at 2 p.m.