BRIAN RICE believes there’s no such thing as friendlies and praised his players for efforts throughout pre-season.

Alloa’s fourth pre-season friendly resulted in a 2-0 victory over Forfar Athletic. Bradley Rodden, who was on trial but has now signed a contract with the club, opened the scoring before Conor Sammon added the second.

Rice told Advertiser Sport: “That was a good workout for us. I thought we were tired. It’s been a heavy session; that’s been four games [of] Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday and training on Thursday night. I felt as though there was tiredness in the legs but we got through it.

“A lot of the boys got more game time. I was trying to push them a wee bit. [A] good workout, clean sheet and my two strikers scoring.

“We’re working to get fit, working to win games and working to keep clean sheets. We got that today.

"Conor scored a really good goal. That will do him the world of good. And young Rodden scored and we’ve signed him.”

Rice praised Rodden’s attitude in his short time at Alloa and firmly believes that, along with enthusiasm, is crucial at this level.

He continued: “Attitude is everything. Attitude and enthusiasm. Natural enthusiasm to come in on a Tuesday and Thursday night after your work and then turn up on a Saturday.

"That’s vital at part-time level. It’s vital at any level but especially at part-time level. You’ve got to want to come to your work.”

At one point during Saturday’s match Adam King played a safer pass instead of going for an admittedly riskier longer pass. Rice shouted from the touchline to attempt it next time.

Asked if he wants players to take risks, he said: “There’s a time and a place for it. Sometimes you’ve got to try things, you’ve got to take wee gambles and try it.

“This is an ideal opportunity to try some passes you’re not used to doing as long as it goes to your own player.

“Anybody that plays forward or attempts to play a pass forward I’ll never get on their back or slate them for anything like that because we want to play forward. The goals are forward ahead of us so we’re trying to get there. I encourage that as much as possible.”

Former Queen’s Park goalkeeper William Muir is on trial with the club at the moment, as is Brett Young, and Rice said the position should be sorted imminently.

Rice said: “The goalkeeper situation should be sorted early this week. The number one choice I was after should be coming through the door early this week. We’re just looking for a back-up as well.”

At the time Advertiser Sport went to print the Wasps had two friendly games remaining before the Premier Sports Cup begins.

Rice is adamant that his squad treats every match the same.

“There’s no such thing as a friendly,” he said. “You’re out representing your club. There’s no such thing as friendlies. It’s professional football we’re in.

"We’re out there to try and do our best, win games and try to enjoy it. Every club will tell you the same. There’s no such thing as friendlies.”

Rice hasn’t worked in part-time football since a spell with Clyde in the late 90s. Despite the challenges it brings, he loves being involved.

He said: “It’s just game by game. Getting them as fit as we possibly can, [getting] match fitness and then we’ll see where we are.

“Kevin Cawley got married yesterday, he wasn’t available today. He’s going away on his honeymoon shortly and won’t be available.

“One or two others are going on holiday, it’s the only time they get off their work. That’s what happens at part-time football.

“But, the window shuts for somebody it opens for someone else. That’s how it is. There’s no point in worrying about it.

"We’ll try and add to the squad but not just for the sake of adding. I’ve got some young boys there who are chapping at the door and showed me what they can do. I’m still looking to add two or three players but at this moment in time we are where we are.

“I love it. I just love it, it’s football, isn’t it? It might be part-time in name but it’s certainly not part-time in nature. It’s 24/7 every single day. Your phone never stops.

"I’m away to games during the day, I’m at games at night, looking at players. Just as you would as a full-time manager. It takes over your life, it consumes your life. That’s how I like it.”

If Rice does have a target in mind for the season, it would take a strong interrogation to get him to reveal it.

His aspirations for the season? He doesn’t look that far ahead, or at least he says he doesn’t.

“To win on Tuesday night,” he said. “That’s the aspiration. Go out, put a shift in, try and play as best as we can and score more than the opposition. If we do that on Tuesday night, we’ll try and do the same again next Saturday.

“Game by game. As soon as you put your head above the parapet someone will shoot it off. Keep your head below the parapet, keep your mouth shut and just get on with it.”