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Daily Record
Daily Record
Andy McGilvray

Gartcairn boss is packing in games to assess his squad for new season

Mick Dunlop admits Gartcairn have a packed pre-season schedule this summer, because he’s still getting to grips with his squad.

Dunlop came in to the job at the Airdrie club in May, having been player/assistant at Lowland League Broomhill and they’ve already played a few warm-up games, with six still to go.

But Dunlop says an early start was crucial to him, so he can see what he’s working with, and what he needs ahead of their West of Scotland League First Division campaign.

The latest of those games was a 3-1 win over Lesmahagow on Saturday, and the 39-year-old said: “It’s still early days, yet and results in pre-season aren’t the most important thing.

“With me just coming into the job, we maybe started a wee bit earlier than most teams, but that was purely in the sense that I wanted to get in and start to get a look at guys.

“You’ve got guys who are on trial, players from the under-20s, and you’re trying to get to know some of the squad that were here last season, that I haven’t really seen as much of.

“We’ve still got probably five or six players who are on holiday just now, who will start to filter back in over the next week or two.

“I’m relatively happy with where we are at this stage, given that we have just over four weeks before the first game on July 30.

Dunlop was appointed Gartcairn boss in May, and is pictured with chairman Martin Peacock (Gartcairn FC)

“But I think it’s really important to get back into training and give these guys a chance to start getting some game-time under their belts, and building up the fitness.”

Dunlop was pleased with the win over ’Gow, and wants a gradual improvement, but he knows he has to be realistic.

He added: “We performed well on Saturday but we don’t really look into results as much at this stage.

“You can’t expect miracles, so you’re just looking for gradual improvement as each week goes by.

“It’s more about getting a feel for the players and taking it from there, and getting their fitness up to the desired level. We have plenty of games and I think we’ve got five still to go.

“We’re playing on all the Saturdays up until July 30. We play Carluke this Saturday, Kilsyth on Tuesday, East Kilbride the following Saturday.

“We then have Thornton Hibs, Kilwinning in midweek and then Renfrew’s the last game before we start.

“That’s probably more pre-season games than I would probably have in a normal set of circumstances.

“But with me just coming into the job at the start of May, I felt it was important to get start that wee bit earlier, to get a feel for what you’re working with.”

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