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Enthusiasm for the coming season is already building at Fort William Football Club with training sessions underway and a series of friendlies lined up.
Manager Russell Macmorran implemented team training immediately on his permanent appointment at the end of May to make an early start on preparations on improving Highland League performances.
After a spell as ‘caretaker’ manager towards the end of last season he is more than aware of weaknesses which must be addresses.
Overall fitness levels are high on Macmorran’s list and the first few sessions at Claggan Park have concentrated on building stamina and ensure staying power over a
full 90 minutes.
Players are responding well, with a a double figure turnout every time and a real buzz of excitement as they run in relays around the pitch, battling through rain and midges in turn but with no thought of giving in to either.
Macmorran has a vision for the team and the way they work together on and off the pitch, never for a moment forgetting the tremendous commitment of everyone who puts on the Fort shirt in turning out week after week, even when results are consistently going against them.
‘On a number of occasions last season I would say that we came very close to a win, but luck was just not with us,’ he said:
‘What I want to avoid this season is us putting in a tremendous effort with strong performances well into the second half, then we start to get tired, leading to silly mistakes that needn’t happen and cost us goals.
‘This is why I have started on fitness levels, moving on to football skills and working together on the pitch which is also vitally important.’
Another important factor highlighted by the manager is maintaining a regular squad so that a strong relationship between players can develop which will lead to consistent mind set on and off the pitch.
Links to the junior teams are also being forged to ensure not only a steady stream of new players coming forward but also show the youngsters that there are places for them in the first team – a positive step for the future.
Positive is certainly the word with which Macmorran will be dominant in all aspects of club, with his ‘encouragement rather than criticism’ management style.
He was also heartened towards the end of last season to see not only an increasing home gate, but also their support for the guys on the pitch, even gathering around the dressing room to applaud them at the last match of the season against Wick.
He said: ‘We are working hard in pre- season and plan to really push ahead, learning and building skills at every game. We are certainly aiming for a good start and will keep fighting for success with a positive attitude.
‘Things are coming together within the club with close working relationships across the teams,committee and fans. Last year we became world famous as the underdogs. Let’s add to that story as we notch up a few successes – and I am positive we will.’
Fort FC manager Russell Macmorran is working hard to build a positive attitude among players.