Stranraer

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Round 3

Stranraer 3 - 2 Raith Rovers
2019-08-17 15:00 More Reports
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Stranraer

In


Jordan Allan (def) (Stirling); Scott Robertson (def) (Airdrie); James Hilton (mid) (Ayr); Ryan Thomson (mid) (Dumbarton); Dale Burgess (gk) (Renfrew); Lee Hamilton (def) (Stirling); Grant Gallagher (mid) (Airdrie); David Dangana (att) (Aberdeen, loan); Carlo Pignatiello (mid) (Livingston, loan); Leon Murphy (mid) (Ayr, loan); Mark Stewart (att) (free agent);

Out


Lyle Avci (sp)(gk) (Annan) ; Kyle Turner (k)(mid) (Dunfermline); David Brownlie (r)(def) (East Kilbride); Andy McDonald (sp)(def) (Elgin); Conor O’Keefe (sp)(mid) (Elgin); Grant Anderson (k)(mid) (Raith Rovers); Chris McGowan (sp)(def), Mark Lamont (r)(mid) (both released)

Stranraer remarkably survived last season with a mediocre squad and Stevie Farrell will seek to work his magic once again. With the bottom of the league stronger than it was 12 months ago, the Blues have their work cut out. They worked with a threadbare squad last season and got the absolute maximum out of all of their players, including several youngsters who had little right to perform as strongly as they did. If they are to survive again, they need a similar influence. Stranraer go into this season, however, having lost the talents of Kyle Turner, who carried the team at times. He was their midfield dynamo and chipped in with many goals and assists. In short, he was irreplaceable. Adding to that, the experienced Grant Anderson has also departed, though the club will not have been particularly concerned to see anyone else leave. In terms of signings, Farrell has done what he can on a limited budget, though it is telling that his new defence will be partially constructed around full-backs from Stirling Albion, who finished in the middle of League Two. Lee Hamilton missed much of last season for the Binos and could prove a shrewd pick up. Otherwise, the experienced Scott Robertson has returned but is chronically short of pace. In the midfield, they do not on paper have a player of the calibre of Turner. Ryan Thomson and Grant Gallagher have both returned to the club; they were successful at Stair Park before but flopped otherwise. Farrell has been forced to gamble otherwise, with Leon Murphy, Carlo Pignatiello and David Dangana arriving on loan deals in a bid to get first-team football. They are untested at this level. James Hilton has arrived on a permanent basis from Ayr but has never played regular first-team football for a season. Unless Dangana shines in attack, Stranraer look short. Mark Stewart’s arrival is surely as no more than a makeweight, having struggled even to get on the pitch in recent seasons, let alone score goals. They may need to find an Innes Cameron-type loan addition to get them goals; the Kilmarnock striker having played a major role in their survival push last season.

Target


On paper, Stranraer have the weakest squad in the league. Their job is to defy that again.

Season Review
2018/2019

№8: Stranraer

Stranraer finished the season comfortably clear of the relegation zone, which given they were in trouble for a long portion of the campaign was a strong achievement. Manager Stevie Farrell had a tight budget to work with and, therefore, a small squad, but though they were troubled by a handful of niggling problems throughout the campaign, they rode through the problems impressively and finished five points clear of ninth. It was not a campaign without issues, as they started rather slowly but managed to keep on the coattails of the main pack thanks to a drip of home victories. Thereafter, their survival effort was largely based around a couple of good runs, one of which saw them take 10 points from four games and another later saw them win three in succession, including vital successes over Forfar and Raith. Survival owed much to the arrival of a handful of excellent loan signings, with Iain Cameron vital in their attack as he contributed an impressive 10 goals, offering a strong aerial threat. Alistair McCann in the midfield, meanwhile, was a strong foil for Kyle Turner, who was once again Stranraer’s outstanding player of the campaign. Turner, though, is destined to leave at the end of the season. Defensively, there were questions asked of the team, though their record actually matched up well with the majority of clubs in the league. That was largely tactical as they did not play in a gung-ho manner but rather used a more measured approach to their game. It underpinned their success. While Farrell’s side were not dashing, they were functional and effective – it was the only way they could secure their survival. They are likely to face similar challenges next year, but with numerous key players set to depart, the difficulty level is set to increase for the manager and the club.


Player of the Season: Kyle Turner

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