Peter Houston has been impressed with the Falkirk players’ application in the first week of pre-season - and he’s putting in just as much work off the park to add to their numbers.
The head coach urged caution over his recruitment drive with fans growing edgy in recent weeks over a lack of transfer activity.
And though there is little certain in the way of incoming transfers that hasn’t been for the want of trying, he told The Falkirk Herald.
“I want to bring in better than is already here and that’s not easy,” Houston said.
“There’s no point me bringing in similar types of player - I could have done that already, but won’t.
“In the first place the guys here deserve their opportunity but there also are loads of balls in the air and it depends how they land. We have made plenty inquiries and are close to one or two which will come to a conclusion one way or another - but the big thing for me is not to panic because we’ve not got someone signed and just get anyone in.
“I want to make Falkirk better not just keep them as good as they are.
“The players I’ve been speaking to and working on, will hopefully land the right way and I’ll get them. But be patient. It will happen.”
Houston has targeted a midfielder and talks are on-going while the deal to bring Jamie Macdonald to the club appeared to have stalled early this week. But the one addition he has made - Alan Maybury - has already enhanced his squad, he says.
“Alan has his A and B licence and is working towards his Pro and he’s here to learn as a coach and to play. It’s great to have him.
“He’s done technical ball work and warm-ups with the players and that’s helped him get to know them.
“That passes on to Dale who does the possession drills. They’re working together really well. I know the type of boy he is and his attitude. He mixes well and he’s got their respect already which is nice. It’s been smashing, and I expect it to continue.
“I’ve been greatly impressed by the attitude and application of the young players - in fact I take that back - ALL the players, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their ability because I dont know the younger ones awfully well.
“They’re working hard. There’s a lot of work being done and there’s no complaints. They’re knuckling down to get themselves as fit as they can for what is shaping up to be a challenging season.”
Pre-season began with the yo-yo test - where the results from the same routine last year were used and produced similar results.
Houston added: “We’ve had loads of ball-work and for afternoons it’s been double sessions and running exercises which tops up the fitness levels.
“As we get nearer the beginning of the season we’ll work more on the sharper side of things rather than the long-term stuff but the fitness levels have been good and long may that continue.”
Saturday sees the Bairns boss field his first Falkirk team, in a closed doors match against bBrwick before the squad heads to Aldershot for a week-long training camp, complete with 6 a.m. rises and double sessions.
“We’ll get some football work done in a bit of privacy and work on shape and the ideas I want to throw into their heads. Maybe tweak the system they knew last year. But you don’t fix a system that isn’t broke.
“I’m conscious the players were comfortable in their roles last year but you also have to have a plan B for going away from home to bigger clubs and I’ll ensure they know how to play several systems because they are capable of doing that.
“We’ll try to pass it and link play through the middle. There will be weeks where I’ll have my own ideas and a set-up system, but the emphasis is on building from the back through the middle and getting it wide and putting crosses into the box. That’s all still to come.”
Nothing tied down yet. I say to Falkirk supporters
We’re away on Sunday and have a closed doors game here against berwick. We’ll get some football work done with privacy and work on shape and the ideas I want to throw into their heads. Maybe tweak the system they knew last year - but you don’t fix a system that isn’t broke and I’m conscious the players were comfortable in their roles last year but you also have a plan B for going away from home to bigger clubs and I’ll ensure they’ll know how to play several systems because they are capable of doing that.
Alex Cooper trained very well at the start of the week and we’ll monitor him and assess him and perhaps if he impresses more we may invite him down for Aldershot.