East Stirlingshire players could feel a bit like laboratory mice when they return to pre-season training at Little Kerse on Tuesday evening.
The club has invested in some high-tech fitness gear which Shire’s sports scientist Iain Milligan will be putting into action to make sure the players are in the best possible condition when the competitive action starts at the end of July.
Coach Craig Tully says the players will be monitored closely throughout the pre-season training sessions to make sure their fitness peaks at just the right time.
“We’re grateful that the club has backed our ideas and allowed us to bring in some equipment which will really be of benefit during the pre-season sessions,” he said. “We intend to work them hard and the players have already been given an extensive fitness programme to work on.”
Tully hopes the squad members who turn up to the first session on Tuesday have been paying attention to the instructions but doesn’t believe any of them will come back out of condition.
“Players know what they can, and can’t, get away with these days,” he said. “They are all fit guys and you would expect them to look after themselves. I would be very surprised if any of them haven’t done that,” he said.
The first day back will not be as strenuous as what lies in store with the first session mainly devoted to gathering the kind of data which will allow the sports scientist to monitor their progress over the next few weeks.
“On Tuesday it’ll be mainly a meet and greet but there will be plenty of measuring and weighing going on as we record the kind of information we need if we are to make real progress in getting the players ready for the games.
“Iain, our fitness guy, has already done a huge amount of work getting things ready for the start of the training sessions. It’s one of those things nobody sees but it’s vital if we are to be in the best shape we can be.
“Getting the season off to a good start is vital. We didn’t last season and we were always playing catch-up and that’s something we could have done without.”
Shire will return to training next week with a squad of 13 signed first teamers and a group of trialists hoping to win a contract by impressing during the build-up.
Tully is also still working hard to try and persuade some of his signing targets to put pen to paper. It has been slow progress over the last few weeks after a flurry of activity which saw the majority of last season’s first team accept new deals.
But the Shire gaffer is not at all perturbed to have got to this point with only one new face, central defender Reece Donaldson, added to his cohort from last term.
“These things can take time,” he said. “It’s not unusual for players to go away and have a think about the offers you make to them. Often enough they say they will give you an answer when they come back from holiday so you just have to be patient.
“That said we’ll have a few new faces at training who will be coming in on trial and who will be keen to try and win themselves a contract.”