Defender Danny Grainger was back in work on Monday morning as he put himself through a punishing gym session with a return to pre-season training now looming large.
“We’re about two weeks or so away from starting up again so I’ll be coming in a lot now to keep myself ticking over,” he said. “I’ve been doing a bit while I’ve been away on holiday, and stuff like that, but it’s good to be back in the gym and getting ready to hit the ground running.
“I’ve said the same for years, but it isn’t about coming back for pre-season to get fit any more. You have to be at that stage already because you’re coming in to get sharp.
“When the season ends you do go away to switch off and enjoy your time away with your family. At the same time you keep an eye on what’s happening at the club and at the other clubs around us.
“The main thing you’re doing though is getting yourself ready for when it all starts again. With the new manager in place now we’re looking forward to getting down to business with him. His staff are coming in as well so it’s an exciting time for all of us.
“I know from speaking to a few of the other lads that they’re the same as me, they’re all looking forward to getting involved with what he wants to do. It’s another tough season ahead and we’re probably slightly behind in terms of recruitment, and things like that, but he has a lot of contacts in the game and I’m more than confident he’s going to bring the players in who will help us to kick on.”
“It was nice to see Paul Murray get the appointment as first team coach,” he continued. “I worked with him up at Gretna and he’s done some fantastic stuff in his career. He’s very highly regarded as a coach and it’ll be nice to be working alongside him again.
“With John and Paul they’ve both spoken already about where they think this club should be, so I’m looking forward to see what next season brings for us.”
“The thing is, the league table doesn’t lie, and you tend to finish where you deserve to finish,” he added. “There have been some good players here in the last few seasons and we all feel we could and should have pushed on a little bit more.
“It’s disappointing to be where we are at the moment but we’ll go into next season under the new manager fully expecting to be promoted.”
“A lot of the lads from last season have obviously left, but there’s still a few of us still here,” he commented. “We ended last season with something like one defeat in the last 14 games, so we’ve got to make sure we hit the ground running and carry that on.
“Once the fixtures come out on Thursday we’ll know what we’ve got to do to make sure we get the points on the board early and get ourselves up the right end of the table. It’s a clean slate for every player in the squad and that’s why you have to be impressing the manager from minute one.
“Catching his eye is obviously important and it’ll certainly add an edge to everything we do. We all want to be involved when it comes down to it, and that’s what we’ll all be working towards.”
And on what he wants for the club from next season, he said: “When I look back, it was a very negative place when I first came here. We’d just been relegated and we lost the manager [Graham Kavanagh] quite early during my first season, which was disappointing.
“We managed to turn things round and we’ve sort of got ourselves on the up since then. That’s fine, but now it’s time to finish the job, get it over the line and get back up into League One.”
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