pre season 2017 logo

Stevie Farrell's squad returned to pre-season training on 10 June - earlier than many - and two weeks on, we get our first chance to see how the new-look Stranraer side is shaping up.

Part-time clubs tend to see a mini revolution over the summer, and at Stair Park the break has been no different to any other in that respect.

Out with the old, and in with the new.

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Craig Malcolm left for Alloa, Mark McGuigan to Stenny, and Willie Gibson to Peterhead, along with Pettigrew, McCloskey, Donald, Morena, Wilson and Kassaraté.

However, new ammunition has arrived in the form of Ryan Wallace. The prolific Albion Rovers man will be assisted by experienced former Raith Rovers winger Grant Anderson and former Queen's Park forward Paul Woods.

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At the back, a young duo - one familiar, one not - of Morgyn Neill and Tom Lang. Both training well, hungry and ambitious. And making the journey from Dumfries to Galloway is Jamie Hamill, a man with Premiership pedigree and a fearsome, hard-tackling reputation.

Creative midfielders Scott Agnew and Kyle Turner were already under contract, but a number of last season's side have joined them in putting pen to paper - Cameron Belford, Scott Robertson, David Barron, Ryan Thomson, Max Currie and captain Steven Bell.

The Blues are 25/1 rank outsiders for the league title with bookmakers after last season's poor showing.

Good value? We're about to find out...

larne fc

Saturday 24 June - Larne (H)

It's unlikely that Peaches & Herb were thinking about Stranraer and Larne when they sang "reunited, and it feels so good".

However, Stranraer and Larne were semi-regular friendly opponents a decade or so ago, and the clubs' close proximity to one another made it a no-brainer for the fixture to be included again in this year's pre-season schedule.

Stranraer may have recorded a 7-1 win over Larne in 2004, but every meeting since has been a much closer affair, and the Northern Irish Championship side should provide a tough first test.

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Saturday 1 July - Dumbarton (N)

Stevie Farrell will have the opportunity to pit his wits against Stevie Aitken in a closed-doors training match against the Sons.

The last meeting between the sides saw Stranraer knock Dumbarton out of the IRN-BRU Cup last September, with Mark McGuigan scoring the only goal.

Partick Thistle FC logo svg

Tuesday 4 July - Partick Thistle (N)

Also at training, the Blues management team will get an early look at one of our Betfred Cup opponents.

The sides are set to meet again at the end of July, which will mark the first competitive meeting between the teams since Partick Thistle relegated the Blues to the Second Division in the 2005/06 playoffs.

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Saturday 8 July - FC Twente (H)

The big one.

As part of the 'Stranraer 400' celebrations, our friends from Enschede will bring a large Dutch contingent to Wigtownshire.

The weekend will be packed with events to mark the town's anniversary of becoming a royal burgh, but the jewel in the crown is on the Saturday.

The Blues have faced a side from foreign shores just once in their 150-year history, and all at the club are naturally delighted that Eredivisie giants FC Twente have accepted our invitation to become the second.

It's sure to be a great occasion, and what's more, the 2009/10 Dutch champions are set to field their first team.

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Saturday 15 July - St Mirren (H)

The Betfred Cup group stage gets underway with a difficult home tie against Championship club St Mirren.

Like us, the Paisley side will be out to make amends for a difficult 2016/17, which saw them narrowly escape relegation by the skin of their teeth.

The Buddies are tipped to challenge at the other end of the table this year, and a result here would be massive for the Blues' confidence.

Airdrieonians 2016

Tuesday 18 July - Airdrieonians (A)

The Betfred Cup action continues apace.

Airdrie have had a difficult summer, with upheaval at board level and uncertainty off the park.

Despite this, the Diamonds' full-time status means they cannot be underestimated, and Excelsior Stadium is always a difficult place to go.

Cameron Belford was the hero on our last visit back in March, saving a penalty as the Blues ran out 2-1 winners.

Cumbernauld Colts

Saturday 22 July - Cumbernauld Colts (A)

With the first two cup ties out of the way, it's back to friendly action.

Stranraer will return to Broadwood for the first time since Jamie Longworth secured a Scottish Cup replay against Clyde back in November 2013.

This time, Lowland League side Cumbernauld Colts will be the opponents, with an early kickoff time of 11am.

Former Blues goalie Chris Fahey - now coaching young keepers at his school along with Eric Phillips and David Mitchell - looks likely to be the man charged with keeping the away score down.

Livingston FC club badge new

Tuesday 25 July - Livingston (H)

Blues fans could have been forgiven for cursing their luck at drawing Livingston, after the Lions romped to the league title last season.

Manager David Hopkin has signed a string of players from League 1 clubs in preparation for their return to the Championship, with East Fife's squad books in particular now looking a little lighter.

After narrow defeats to Livi on their last two visits to Stair Park, Stranraer will look to make it third time lucky, and channel some of the spirit that helped them relegate the West Lothian club over two legs in the 2016 playoffs.

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Saturday 29 July - Partick Thistle (A)

A long-overdue return to Firhill will be a fitting finale for the Blues' group stage adventures, and also bring the curtain down on an extended pre-season for Stranraer.

Just one week later, the League 1 action begins.

We'll have news of the league fixtures tomorrow (Friday), with dates in Ayr, Kirkcaldy, Arbroath and Forfar returning to the calendar.

Join us right here tomorrow night for a chat with Blues boss Stevie Farrell as we preview the match against Larne.

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Raith Rovers 9 22
2 Ayr United 9 17
3 Albion Rovers 9 15
4 East Fife 9 15
5 Arbroath 9 14
6 Stranraer 9 14
7 Airdrieonians 9 11
8 Alloa Athletic 9 9
9 Queen's Park 9 5
10 Forfar Athletic 9 5

Fixtures

GK  Cameron Belford
GK  Max Currie
DEF  Liam Dick
DEF  David Barron
DEF  Morgyn Neill
DEF  Tom Lang
DEF  Chris McGowan
DEF  Sam Lidington
D/M  Jamie Hamill
D/M  Scott Robertson
D/M  Steven Bell
MID  Ryan Thomson
MID  Scott Agnew
MID  Kyle Turner
MID  Cameron Elliott
MID  Grant Anderson
M/S  Paul Woods
STR  Ryan Wallace
STR  Stephen Okoh
STR  Danny Stoney

00 Stranraer FC 2015 Logo
3 Number Lotto
Sunday 15 October 2017

Numbers: 1, 12, 19

4 winners at ¬£250:

J. McCrindle, Stranraer
D. Dante, Stranraer
J. Burton, Drummore
A. Cottam, Lanark