larne 20160624 020

A GOOD mix of experience and youthful exuberance could be crucial in Stranraer's bid for success this season.

Manager Stevie Farrell has been busy during the close season, adding eight new faces to the 18-man squad.

Four of those eight signings are under the age of 24 and, married together with the experience already in the squad, the manager will be aiming to serve up some impressive results.

Club captain Steven Bell is one those familiar faces in the team having made more than 130 appearances.

Now, he is gearing up for his fifth season with the Blues, with St Mirren the first visitors to Stair Park.

He said: "We have a big squad now with competition for places.

"We just have to be at it and as fit as we can be.

"Through my career, I'm probably one of the most experienced players at the club.

East Fife 6 May 2017 007

"There is myself, Jamie (Hamill), Robbo (Scott Robertson), Aggy (Scott Agnew), Cammy (Cameron Belford), and you need competition.

"We always say you need competition for young boys and a lot of these boys are fitter than me but they have maybe not had the experiences of guys like Jamie and myself.

"You need a bit of that - you need a mixture.

"The gaffer at the moment has a good squad building together and there is a good harmony in the squad.

"We lost a few players in the summer, a few important players to us, but he has added well from what I can see."

Albion 5 Feb 2017 034

The Buddies make their way down the A77 for the first time in more than a decade this weekend before attention quickly turns to Airdrie, Livingston and Partick Thistle to complete the group section of the Betfred Cup.

It's certainly not the easiest of starts, but Bell and his team-mates are raring to go.

He said: "We are doing a lot of training and we are doing a lot of work on shape and phases of play.

"That is why we have had so many friendlies in pre-season.

"It is more about getting shape and getting to know how each other plays because we want to do what we have not done the last three or four years I have been here, and that is start well.

"Then, you are playing catch up for the rest of the season.

Livingston 11 Feb 2017 b 002

"So, I think that is one of the biggest things for the gaffer - to start the season well.

"Nobody is guaranteed a place in the team and players need to be on their toes and performing week in week out."

Pre-season came to a close last Saturday with the visit of FC Twente.

bell 2x

The Dutch side, featuring a number of internationalists and players with top flight experience, ran out comfortable winners at Stair Park.

Pre-season is about more than just results though, with performances taking priority.

On top of that, the 2010 Eredivisie champions' visit was a real coup for not just the club but the town.

Bell was unhappy with the goals conceded but felt it was a worthwhile exercise.

He said: "I think the goals we gave away were really poor.

bell 1x

"I think in games like that you need to stick together and you need to do things well.

"They will pick you off with any mistakes you make and they did that.

"It was a good exercise and leads us into Saturday.

"No disrespect to St Mirren but I don't think they will have the quality that FC Twente have got.

"We have worked hard all pre-season.

"I know it was 5-0 but it was more about the occasion and for Stranraer and FC Twente.

"They did great and the fans that they brought over and the Stranraer fans came out, so applaud them for that.

"This was more a game for them."

fc twente 017

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 16 42
2 Raith Rovers 16 29
3 East Fife 16 23
4 Montrose 16 21
5 Forfar Athletic 16 21
6 Airdrieonians 16 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 16
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 16 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)