It was a busy week at Brunton Park last week as the business of announcing new signings and contract agreements was punctuated by a week of trials as 20 invited players took part in double sessions through the first four days of the week.
As well as the trialists it was a chance for Jarrad Branthwaite, Josh Dixon, Keighran Kerr and Liam McCarron to get some early summer training under their belts, with the four very much part of the manager’s thoughts for the coming campaign.
“The four young players will be training with us and they’ll be involved in the friendlies once we get to July,” manager Steven Pressley told us. “They’ll all be part of the first team group and they’ll be expected to give it everything they’ve got.
“I’m a strong believer in integrating the young players quickly because I think it speeds up their development. I have no fear of playing young players and I really want the likes of Liam and Jarrad to be pushing.
“That’s the same with Keighran and Josh who have just signed their first contracts. They must be coming back for pre-season wanting to be part of the first team playing group. I really want to push our young players and I get excited about them coming through the ranks, so this was a good week for them as well.”
Another familiar face amongst the trialists was Arthur Gnahoua, who was back to full training following the hamstring injury he picked up during the Port Vale game at the beginning of February.
“As you know, we didn’t offer Arthur a new contract, but the door certainly isn’t closed,” the manager revealed. “He took part in some of the sessions and that was important, because we wanted to have a look at him and assess him.
“He was involved in all of the football work in the early part of the week, but he had to leave early due to an issue outside of football. He trained for a couple of days and looked very comfortable, which is good. Again, he’s somebody who we’ll consider then speak to in the coming weeks.”
On the purpose of the week of training with the group of trial players, he said: “From my time in football, both as a manager and a player, you always get trialists coming in during pre-season.
“Sometimes you have a trialist that comes in, and after one day you’re thinking ‘oh no’. They can affect the standard of the session and the work you’re trying to do, and if you agree to bring him in for a certain period of time you can end up wasting the players’ time as well as your own. We wanted to filter that.
“We had a lot of names put to us, and we decided it would make good sense for us to see them first-hand then decide whether we invite them in again during pre-season. No player from this week will be offered a contract, it was a filtering process to give us peace of mind.
“This way we know that if we bring them in for pre-season they’re going to be of sufficient quality to come in and have a real chance of gaining a contract.
“We’ve seen a couple of players we think are of good interest, so we’ll be discussing them over the next few days before we let them know if we’ll be bringing them back in or not.”
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