Forfar Athletic

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Forfar Athletic 2 - 1 Peterhead
2019-11-30 15:00 More Reports
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Forfar Athletic

In


Jordan Kirkpatrick (mid) (Alloa); Ross Forbes (mid) (Dumbarton); Callum Tapping (mid) (Brechin); Andy Jackson (att) (Brechin); Sam McGuff (gk) (Raith Rovers); Scott Robertson (mid) (Brechin); Mark Docherty (def) (East Fife); Sean Burns (def) (Brechin)

Out


Eddie Malone (sp)(def) (East Stirling); Brad Spender (r)(mid) (Raith Rovers); Thomas Reilly (r)(mid) (Kelty); John Baird (k)(att) (retired)

Forfar enjoyed a strong run to the playoffs last season having deservedly finished second in the league. They will hope to replicate such an effort this time around, with manager Jim Weir having retained much of the squad that brought him joy last season. In terms of important players who have departed, striker John Baird, who has retired, will be a loss, as will the dynamic Brad Spencer in the heart of the midfield, where Thomas Reilly has also gone. The latter was something of an understated player for the Loons. Dylan Easton, an erratic but capable winger who was not a favourite of the coach, has also gone. Their approach to signing players has been clear: experience is capital. Only two of the players they have signed this summer are younger than 27. Somewhat surprisingly, they have added four players from local rivals Brechin, who were relegated haplessly last season. It is a particular gamble that Callum Tapping spent much of the season injured, while Andy Jackson was a flop. Weir is banking on the fact that Jackson can regain his best form, though he has also suffered injury concerns throughout his career and appeared to be over the hill. Moreover, they saw Adam Eckersley depart after a loan expired, and the steady left-back has been replaced by Sean Burns, a player who is not as able. Where Forfar do look to have improved is in terms of their creativity, where the additions of Ross Forbes and Jordan Fitzpatrick appear to be particularly strong ones. Dale Hilson should thrive on this. The League Cup campaign suggests that, at their best, Forfar will be a formidable opponent. They notably achieved comfortable wins over Brechin and Montrose, while they were competitive against Ross County. Certainly, their defence has looked well organised and difficult to break down, led by captain Michael Travis, who is set to be key. Once again, they will operate a small squad but they showed last year they have the capability to bring in loan players – and ones of a good standard – when things get tough.

Target


Forfar will be aiming for the playoffs after their success last season. Their recruitment will be determinant; it is not entirely inspiring, though.

Season Review
2018/2019

№2: Forfar Athletic

Forfar enjoyed an excellent season, finishing second in the league, but were unable to progress by Raith Rovers in the playoff semi-final. Nevertheless, Jim Weir’s men can reflect upon an impressive campaign in which they finished the League One season as the best home team in the division. Their away form was far patchier, with eight defeats in contrast to seven victories ultimately the reason they did not put up a more sustained fight for the title. Indeed, Forfar started the campaign relatively slowly, which would cost them. Once their hit their stride, they were arguably the league’s strongest team, showing few signs of weakness anywhere in their ranks. It was a coming-of-age season for centre-back Darren Whyte, who proved to be one of their best players and avoided the injury issues that have previously hampered him. Along with Michael Travis, he formed an important part of the backbone of the team, while goalkeeper Mark McCallum also had a strong campaign. Left-back Adam Eckersley was an excellent pick up in January, while the midfield was boosted at its heart with the arrivals of Brad Spencer and Gary Irvine, strengthening an area that was previously functional but not notably strong. Where Forfar fell down on occasion was in terms of their creativity. Dylan Easton did not have the trust of Weir, despite being one of their strongest players on his day. He was too inconsistent for the manager’s taste, while there was a consistent threat lacked down the right. In attack, there was no shortage of talent, with Dale Hilson and John Baird both enjoying excellent seasons. Their depth in that area was never seriously tested as neither suffered injury issues. Indeed, they largely avoided injury concerns as a club, which was vital as they were operating on a playing pool of 19 for much of the season. Keeping their best players will be a big challenge in the summer and even if they succeed in maintaining the strength of the season, having another campaign so free of injury and suspension seems unlikely. Forfar will do well to better this season.


Player of the Season: Dale Hilson

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