Forfar Farmington Head Coach Damon Neish has this week bid a fond farewell to long-serving player Alana Bruce.
Alana had been with Farmington for 21 years but has decided to move on and tackle a new challenge with Aberdeen, writes Lee Smith.
Damon said: “Alana Bruce decided it was time to take up a new challenge, she’s given absolutely everything to this club, we relied really heavily on her last year and leaned on her a lot of the time and it’s time that some of the girls learn to stand by themselves. Alana needed to challenge herself to reignite her passion for football so hopefully she gets that at Aberdeen.”
The boss believes the otherwise settled squad will be key to the side’s chances of staying in the Premier League for another season, with another year of top flight experience doing the world of good for the side’s youngsters.
He continued: “It’ll be good to have a year’s senior experience behind the majority of the squad, they’re a solid set of girls, we’ve got a good squad. We’ve got ourselves a fairly settled squad, still very young but Nivana Crighton’s come in and done really well, once she’s got her legs underneath her she’ll get even better. Gemma Collier is coming in as well so I’m looking forward to the new season.”
He also pointed out the rich pool of development players elsewhere in the Farmington set-up, with a number of junior players forcing themselves into contention for the senior squad.
Damon said: “You’ve got to also remember, we’ve got a lot of quality within the development team, Derrian Gollan has still to come in, Nikki Grant had a fantastic year last season, there’s cover in the goalkeeping position and lots of positions in the development team so I think we’re doing not bad.”
“I’m still working on signings, Nivana is hopefully going to put pen to paper fairly soon as well as Gemma and that would give us a good size of squad.
“Hopefully over the course of pre-season we’ll add two more and then I’d be happy with that.”
The side has four friendlies arranged for February, with games every Sunday against Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibernian Development and St Andrews University.
Midfielder Keira Johnstone will return this season after the 16-year-old spent almost the whole of 2014 out after suffering a dislocated knee in March, and her coach believes her return will be like acquiring a new player altogether.
Damon added: “Having her back is like a new signing, a quality new signing at that.
“She’s really benefitting from the gym work that we’re doing in Dundee. I’m really looking forward to Keira getting started.
“I’m really excited about the new season now,”