THE Forfar Athletic playing squad for the new season is gradually taking shape - ahead of the first of the pre-season friendlies at home to Dundee United a week on Saturday (writes Alan Ducat).
Over the course of the past week manager Dick Campbell has persuaded two of last season’s squad to extend their stay at Station Park, and has also brought in two new faces, with others set to follow in the coming week.
Defenders Jamie Bishop and Greg Ross have penned new one-year deals, while new faces at Station Park are former Arbroath and Montrose defender Chris Hegarty and goalkeeper Greg Paterson, a 21-year-old who has been released by Dunfermline Athletic.
That brings the squad up to 13, with three more players set to join the ranks in the coming week.
The club management team are remaining tight-lipped on who may be coming in, but two players who have been linked with Forfar are ex-Alloa Athletic midfielder Kevin Motion and former Loon Kevin Byers, who has been released by near neighbours Brechin City. It is understood that an experienced forward could also be joining up.
The full squad to date is as follows:- Greg Paterson, Jamie Bishop, Michael Bolochoweckyj, Iain Campbell, Mark McCulloch, Greg Ross, David Mowat, Stephen Tulloch, Chris Hegarty, Martyn Fothringham, Ross Campbell, Graham Gibson and Chris Templeman.
Two players who have declined new deals are Barry Sellars and Bryan Deasley, both of whom are joining big spending Peterhead, where they will meet up with former Loons Paul Watson and Alan Rattray.
With pre-season training underway ahead of the opening pre-season friendly fixture, club directors were delighted with the early response to season ticket sales on Saturday past, not only with renewals, but also a few newcomers purchasing for the first time.
The briefs will again be available this coming Saturday at Station Park from 10 am to 11.30 am and on Monday, June 27 from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm.
Meanwhile prices have been announced for the four pre-season friendlies arranged to date. Admission to the Dundee United game on July 2 and the Aberdeen fixture on July 16 will be £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
For the matches against SFL opponents Montrose on July 5 and Dundee on July 20, admission will be £8 for adults and £4 for concessions.
Of course, season tickets are valid for all four matches.
And, with five of the opening six competitive matches in the new season, two in the cup and three in the league, all at home, they offer great value for money.
Indeed, the Loons are at home on all three Saturdays during the traditional Trades Fortnight - entertaining Buckie Thistle and Peterhead in cup competition and Cowdenbeath in the league.
Another piece of good news to emanate from Station Park is that a former club director has come on board as a sponsor.
Former vice-chairman Mike McEwan has stepped into the breach with a substantial donation to the club to sponsor the back of shirt advertising in the season ahead.
Mike, who continues to run the highly successful Scottish concerts on behalf of the club in the Reid Hall in November and March, fills the gap created after Universal Telecom moved out of the area earlier in the year.
The directors appreciate Mike’s support on all fronts.
Orchard Timber Supplies, of course, continue as main club sponsors for a fifth season.