Early signs are good for Swift as Stenhousemuir return for pre-season

Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift says he has been delighted with the attitude of his players in the early stages of their pre-season.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 12:30 pm
Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift (Pic:Dave Johnston)
Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift (Pic:Dave Johnston)

The new look Warriors squad came together for the first time two weeks ago and their gaffer has been pleased with what he has seen from them so far.

"The first two weeks have been great,” said Swift.

"The first week was really tough, we exerted the boys and asked questions of their fitness and their response was excellent.

"We need to get them in the best condition they can and that's exactly what we’ve done.

"Last week we moved on to add some tactical stuff, the fundamentals of how we want to play, and we took that in to our bounce match with Dunfermline last Saturday where we won 4-0.

"We need to keep building on these habitats when we play Syngenta on Thursday and hopefully get a couple of goals in the process.

"The attitudes have been tremendous, you worry with it being a new squad but they've all clicked relatively quickly.”

Building relationships off the pitch was also important to Swift who noticed a difference at training following a social gathering of the squad.

“It was important they had a wee lunch day and a few games of pool and went out together for a bit of team bonding which really helped them.

"The atmosphere was up the next night at training and that's important for the spirit of the team.

"It's only a start and we need it to continue.”

As they continue through their preparations for the season ahead, the coaching staff have one eye on the return of competitive matches next month which begins with a trip to League 1 Dumbarton in the Premier Sports Cup on Tuesday, July 13.

They will also face Partick Thistle, St Mirren and Dunfermline Athletic in their group matches before getting their cinch League 2 season underway on Saturday, July 31 at home to Stirling Albion.

"We are bottom seed and you only need to look at the group to see that it will be extremely tough,” said Swift.

"It's a great chance to use it as an extension of pre-season, rotate the squad and by the end of it we'll know who will be in the starting line-up for that first league game against Stirling.

"There's plenty of time yet to get things right and whoever does start that match will have earned it.

"It will be great having fans back and good to start the league season with a home match against a side we expect to be one of our main rivals at the top end of the table.

"There usually isn't a lot in these opening games in my experience so it's about getting the team right for that.

"It's still a bit away and between now and then so we need to strive for the best physical condition we can get for each player in."

By the time the League 2 season gets up and running there should be a clear indication of how close the battle at the top could be with Stenny not only facing the Binos in their opening match but also Edinburgh City and Kelty Hearts in August, two other teams who are widely expected to be competing at the top end of the table.