BRIAN RICE couldn't wait to get stuck into a first pre-season with his Alloa side.

The players returned for their first session in preparation of the new season last night, Tuesday, June 14.

Most of last year's squad has returned for the 2022-23 campaign, though they will be without Steven Boyd.

The attacker declined a contract with Alloa, but Rice is hopeful of bringing new faces this week.

Speaking ahead of the first session, the Wasps gaffer told Advertiser Sport: "I’m really, really looking forward to getting back to training."

He added: "I’ve got two or three players that will, hopefully, have signed by this time next week.

"Some of them are on holiday [or] at full time clubs and I’m still looking to bolster the squad but it’s still early days.

"We’re in a good place, we’re not looking for too many and I’d rather have quality than quantity.

"I need to get some younger players in, good players with good legs and good energy. It’s going to be a really competitive league and I want to get the best players I possibly can."

Advertiser Sport revealed earlier this month that Andy Graham will be coaching this season on top of his playing duties.

Rice said: "I had a discussion with the chairman. Andy’s been a brilliant servant to the club; he’s fantastic about that place – he runs that dressing room.

"But more importantly he’s a good player, he’s still got a bit to offer but he’s a fantastic role model. He’s still in the gym working, he’s still on the pitch doing extra.

"I’ve asked him to take the younger ones under his wing, drag them into the gym, get them out early, keep them on the pitch once we’re finished training.

"Hopefully his professionalism will rub off on them but at the same time [he’ll] keep himself fit because he will be needed at times. It’s very much a squad effort and Andy will be fit and ready to go whenever he’s needed."

Alloa start their season next Tuesday with a friendly against Partick Thistle. Indeed, the club have six friendlies lined up before their first competitive game in early July.

Rice said: "I’m just going with my own experience when I played in England. We used to train for a few days and then play game after game after game and I really enjoyed it – I found we got our fitness that way.

"I expect the players to come back in good condition, I told them that. it’s not my job to get them fit. It’s their job to come back fit and I’ll get them fitter.

"We’re playing our first match against Partick Thistle a week after we come back.

"We’ll have three sessions, I think it’s the best way, it’s the way I like it and it’s the way we’re going to go.

"Hopefully, when the season kicks off we’ll be ready to go."