The Falkirk manager says the age of his squad does not lower his expectations for the new season and he wants to win promotion to the Premier League.
Gary Holt graduated six players from the club academy, in one of his first moves as manager, as well as adding Liam Rowan and Scott Olumide-Durojaiye, and the youngsters have blended well into the main body of the team in the first few days of pre-season but it’s their gradual development in the first-team pool he’ll be keeping a close eye on.
“They’ve all blended in very well. It’s a steep learning curve – just because they’re young doesn’t mean they’re let off or anything. It’s a man’s world they’re in and they’ve got to learn – it’ll take some time to acclimatise to full-time training. They might stand out at 16s and 17s but life as a pro is a lot about adapting in full-time training. “A wee bit of angry grit and developing that.”
Holt is monitoring their progress carefully, bringing in new ideas to their training, while maintaining his intensive style.
“You can’t be old school, you have to understand their loads, the whole squad’s young. But we can’t hide behind that.
“We want to do things this year – we want to win the league or challenge for it, so we make no excuses, I don’t care how young they are, I want to achieve the aims.
“I’m carrying on the way I left off last season – looking for high intensity, quick closing down, getting in people’s faces and winning the ball back high up the pitch and that’s what we’ve done.
“That’s what we ask that they learn and train hard and they have been and they’ve been really good.”
Queen’s Park lie in wait in the club’s first friendly on Saturday at Lesser Hampden, and Holt added: “It’s just to break up the first couple of weeks, we’ll have two 45-minute games. I want to win and get through the games and start working on things. There’s a few games on synthetic pitches and to give them a blend and get used to the surfaces.”