With the ‘Gers training at Haddington twice a week this season, the manager revealed that he encountered some problems during the latter half of last season with some of the squad unable to make training on both days – a factor he says must change if the team is to be successful.
“I’ve resisted the temptation so far to look west in the search of new players because I came in with a strategy of making sure we sign people who live close to the training ground,” he said. “That training ground will be Haddington twice a week – and it’s paramount that players make training on both days.”
“That’s a big thing for me. I wasn’t happy last season that players, through no fault of their own, were racing across the M8 on winter evenings and there were also other times when they couldn’t make it over. That’s not acceptable to me – I need players there twice a week.
“I’ve been very steadfast in my thinking of what I want to do in terms of structuring the club and the squad and this is a big part of it.”
Coughlin also revealed that it was important for make the squad his own heading into the season and in the signings of Jordyn Sheerin, Lee Hamilton, Stephen Thomson, Sean Brennan and Kevin McKinlay, he believes he’s done just that.
“There’s a few lads with that Musselburgh connection but I think you’re going to get that when you localise the signings,” he said. “I felt I needed to put my own stamp on the squad and in the signings we’ve made, I think I’ve achieved that.
“Other teams have went out and spent quite a bit of money and the reality is, we don’t have that money. I’ve been very stringent in the signings that I’ve made and all I can do is work away behind the scenes, leave the limelight to other people and get the job done properly.
“We feel we’ve done that. The signings that we’ve made will make us stronger – it’s a much evolved squad with a different type of player coming in – and at the end of the day, we’re aiming for the top four.
“The players that we had last season showed they could do enough to finish mid-table – but that’s not good enough this season and hopefully, with the signings that we’ve made, the fans will be able to see the difference from day one.”
By Martin Inglis