East Stirlingshire’s latest new face may be a solution to the club’s long-standing problem of filling the right-back position.
Lloyd Kinnaird has joined Shire on a one year deal after being released by League One Stranraer in the summer, having made more than 50 first team appearances for the Stair Park club in the full-back role.
Last season Shire fielded a succession of makeshift players in the position without ever finding a natural and Tully is now hoping that his 24-year-old capture will provide a bit of consistency.
“He comes with a good reputation and he has stuck out in pre-season training with us,” he said. “Lloyd was with Partick Thistle and Ayr United as a youngster but never made the breakthrough there and Stranraer got him from amateur football and made him into a regular in their team for two seasons.”
Kinnaird can expect to make his Shire debut on Saturday when fans will get the chance to see Tully’s new-look team in their first pre-season friendly against Championship side Alloa Athletic at The Recs.
Tully has a number of issues for the match around team selection caused by holidaying players and knocks picked up in pre-season and he may use the match to give a run out to a number of trialists.
“Chris Townsley, Jamie Glasgow and Jordan Tapping are all on holiday and a couple of others are nursing knocks but we will have enough players to make it a valuable exercise,” he said.
Saturday’s opponents are two weeks behind Shire in their pre-season preparations but will prove a tough test for Tully’s men, who will include a number of younger players hoping to win the chance of a place in their under-20 squad for the coming season.
The matches will come thick and fast for Shire with two more public Saturday fixtures, against Inverurie Locos and Peterhead along with some closed-door midweek games ahead of their first competitive game of the new campaign on 26th July.
Meanwhile, Shire chiefs are hoping to make their first Ochilview league match with Elgin a special occasion.
Plans are being drawn up to repeat last season’s successful kids’ day which took place in a game against Annan Athletic at the tail end of last term.
Shire are entering more teams at age group levels and are keen to celebrate the links between the first team and the youngsters who play Saturday morning football for the club.
“We are keen to grow our children’s community football and this season we will run with three teams,” said secretary Tadek Kopszywa.
“In addition, we are about to launch a very exciting development aimed at improving kids’ football skills through coaching sessions for the very youngest age groups, starting with pre-school.
“The club already has a strong bond with our community football teams and it’s something we want to shout about. That’s why we are planning a special day for youngsters to coincide with the Elgin City match. We are still working on the details but they will be announced soon,” said the club secretary.
Shire’s youngsters have just finished a very successful season with the under-15s picking up their first silverware in the form of their League Cup competition.
They are also keen to grow already existing links with the Central Girls Academy who are one of the top sides at age group girls football in the area.
“It’s not just about finding players of the future, it’s about making the fans of the future too,” he said.