East Kilbride Thistle captain Matt Gray admits the club will need to improve their fitness levels and bring in more experience for next season’s West of Scotland League Conference C campaign.
The defender has signed up for another year at the Showpark and from the few games they played in this term’s null and void season, he reckons there’s a couple of things Iain Diack’s side can improve on if they are to make their mark.
Gray, whose side managed just five games in the WOSL’s pandemic-hit season, said: “I think we learned a lot from the few games we played last season.
”We realised we need to get fitter, we need a better balance of youth and experience in the squad.
“We need to make sure we have that balance. It’s not always about being young and fit, it’s about knowing the game and playing against experienced teams.
“In our league, you realise everyone can take points off each other. We saw that last season and every game will be a challenge.
“Everybody is raring to get back into it and get some games back at the Showpark.
“It’s been rubbish not being able to play and I’m sure everyone will be buzzing to play and get a good pre-season in.
“The manager and Kev [Coyle, the assistant manager] have been working really hard to get the club up to a good level and it’s great to be a part of it for another season.
“Hopefully we can do something with them and it’s exciting to be here.”
Gray has spent four seasons with Thistle in between spells at Petershill and Cambuslang Rangers and won all three of the club’s player of the year awards in the 2018-19 campaign.
He’s seen plenty of changes during that time, playing under Alan Paterson and then caretaker boss Steven McClung before Diack took the reins.
But the Jags are undergoing their biggest change off the pitch in decades, with the Showpark changing rooms given a much-needed facelift and the pitch being upgraded.
These changes mean the club will start the season on July 17 away from their home ground, as the pitch works won’t be completed until August.
But Gray says the improvements off the park will have a positive effect on the players.
The 28-year-old added: “We don’t know where our pre-season will be yet, but it will be great to come back in and see the place all done up because they have done the changing rooms as well.
“The last year has allowed the club to get a lot of stuff done.
“If the pitch is good, the changing rooms are good it makes it a good place to play your football.
“And hopefully we’ll have the fans back in by then as well.”
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