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Forfar Athletic

Summary of last season – Forfar have the longest serving manager in Scottish football and it showed last season. Dick Campbell has been at the club long enough that things have stalled somewhat. They finished 7th last season and it was a case of “doing just enough”. Forfar were inconsistent last year and despite having a very decent defensive record they suffered from a lack of goals. The team selections from Campbell were at times very strange and the club never really progressed. They were actually in with a slim chance of the playoffs approaching the end of the season but it sums Forfar up that they just didn’t do enough when it mattered.

Players in – Derek Young (Queen of the South), Stephen Husband (Dunfermline Athletic), Danny Denholm (Livingston), Dale Hilson (Dundee United), Andrew Steeves (St Johnstone), Aaron James (Edinburgh City).

Players out – Darren Hill (Hamilton Academical), Iain Campbell (Cowdenbeath), Gary Fusco, (Brechin City), Ross Campbell (East Fife), Neil McCabe (East Stirlingshire), Marvin Andrews (Free), Keith Gibson (Free), Mark McCulloch (Free), Jamie McCluskey (Free)

What they still need –The team is looking pretty balanced and as long as they can avoid injuries and suspensions then the starting team for Forfar is one of the stronger sides in the league. They do still maybe miss another goalscorer going forward as this was a problem for them last year.

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Dale Hilson made over 100 loan appearances for Forfar.

Key player(s) – One of the surprise signings of the summer for Forfar must be Stephen Husband. He arrives at Station Park having left Dunfermline and the general feeling is that this a fantastic piece of business by Dick Campbell. Husband is a very talented midfielder who can play a number of different roles in the middle of the park.  Another new signing but one that knows the club well is Dale Hilson. He has been on loan at Forfar for a long period of time from Dundee United and this move is now permanent. Hilson will feel as though he never got the chance to shine at United and there is no doubting his ability as a wide midfielder or as a striker. Forfar fans will be delighted to see him again this year.

Opinion on Forfar – Campbell has made some decent signings this summer and he is a vastly experienced manager who knows what is needed to guide a team in this division. His selections do baffle at times but when Forfar are playing well then they are good enough to challenge most teams in League One. They have a good mix in the team and are usually very reliable at the back. The worry is that things continue to stand still a little at Forfar. Last season was a bad example of a team just doing enough but never really pushing on. On the face of it this might be another season of Forfar being a good, solid, mid-table team.

Prediction for this season – 6th

 

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Greenock Morton

Summary of last season – Utterly woeful. At the start of last season there were journalists and fans predicting that Morton would finish amongst the playoff candidates for promotion from the Championship but this prediction couldn’t have been further from the truth. Right from the word go things went from bad to worse for the Ton and it ended in relegation. Previous manager Allan Moore started last season with a huge turnover of players and this continued throughout the campaign. In November Moore was sacked and Kenny Shiels was brought in to save the side from relegation. Despite most new managers normally having a positive impact on a club it simply got worse for Morton. They were bottom of the division from September through to May  which tells the whole story. Jim Duffy was appointed manager during the summer.

Players in – Conor Pepper (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Michael Miller (Celtic), Andrew Barrowman (Livingston), Lee Kilday (Hamilton Academical), Stefan Milojevic (Airdrieonians), Stefan McCluskey (Clyde), Jordan Allan (Dundee United), Ricky Lamie (Airdrieonians), Sean Crighton (Elgin City), Jamie McLuskey (Forfar)

Players out – Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical), Archie Campbell (Dumbarton), Scott Taggart (Dumbarton), Marc Fitzpatrick (Airdrieonians), Jamie McCormack (Brechin City), Barrie McKay (End of Loan), Stuart Findlay (End of Loan), David Robertson (Livingston), Garry Jos (Selkirk), Tony Wallace (BSC Glasgow), Ben Sampayo (Free), Darren Cole (Free), David O’Brien (Free), Rowan Vine (Free)

What they still need – There is no doubt that Greenock Morton are a side suffering from relegation. The squad is definitely in a period of transition and Jim Duffy has a challenge to try and rebuild this team. He has made a few signings but there is still a lack of width in the squad both at fullback and out wide. They also lack a bit of creativity so whether or not it is a midfielder or a striker they need a couple of players that can make things happen.

Key player(s) – With so many changes in this squad this is difficult to pinpoint but one of the positives from pre-season seems to be the emergence of a solid and effective central defensive partnership between Sean Crighton (left) and Stefan Milojevic (right). Both are new to the club but both come with good reputations and have already played well together. Fans will be desperate to see a consistent and solid defence this year so these two could be huge players for Morton this season.

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Opinion on Morton – After the bitter disappointment of last year it is so important that Morton try to put things right this year. There have been a number of changes at the club and this might lead to a bit of instability but the fact is that Morton should be trying to achieve promotion back to the Championship. They have the makings of a squad that can achieve a playoff spot at the very least so fans will be expecting that this season. Jim Duffy will be under pressure to deliver this year and he will be desperate to get off to a good start.

Prediction for this season – 2nd

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Scottish Football, Scottish League One

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