Derek Ure and East Stirlingshire are catching the eye with the calibre of players they’ve attracted to the Lowland League.
Bobby Barr, Eddie Malone and Nicky Low have been joined by Matty Flynn, Peter MacDonald, Sean Brown, Willie Dyer and Reis Peggie this week. Jordan Tapping also returned to the Shire from Brechin City on Monday.
Add those to the squad of retained players kept on by Derek Ure and Andy Rodgers and you have a seriously impresive list of names, especially for the Lowland League.
“I think the board have made their statement loud and clear with what we are aiming for with the club,” Ure told The Falkirk Herald this week. “It has been all hands to the pump recently but we’re no different to any of the other teams in our league, targetting as high a finish as possible.
“Now we have a realistic chance of fulfilling that I think.”
But Ure has believed that before, in the past as a player when he’s shown up for pre-season training. But the squad he’s built and will oversee for their preparatory work next Tuesday is even better, he says.
“The guys we’ve added bring something different. We have added men to the mix, with experience, and players who know the game inside out – you can’t win this league with young boys all the time. I think it’s important to have a good mix and I believe we have that. We have kept good players with us and we have brought in more quality too.
“But look across the league, there will be many teams feeling positive.
“There’s been eye-catching signings at a lot of the teams – it’s shaping up to be an exciting season for the league and hopefully for us as well.”
For fans waiting on the next big announcement – and they have all been substantial at the Shire this summer – there may be a long wait.
“We’re just about done,” admitted the manager, “we’re very close but I’m like everyone else in world football – if the right player came along and we could get it done, we wouldn’t say no.
“We are very happy with what we have managed to do this summer and the squad we have built.”
Shire begin their pre-season on Tuesday and kick-of their friendlies in just over a fortnight with a match against Blackburn United before their Yorkshire tour in July.
It still feels an early start and club historian Drummond Calder revealed it is only the sixth time the club have played a game in June.
Ure explained: “It will be good to get out on the pitch again.
“We understand there are players still on holiday but Andy [Rodgers] and I have spoken and both felt our starts to recent season have been a bit too slow so we want to get started early and believe this is the best way forward.”