DAVY BEATON has been thrilled by Sauchie Juniors’ pre-season sessions so far as the club gear up for their first friendly match.

The club returned to training last month and play their first of six friendly ties this Saturday, July 9, away to Cumbernauld Utd.

Beaton and Greig Maitland have been taking the sessions alongside Iain Syme while manager Fraser Duncan is on holiday.

“It’s been full-on,” Beaton told Advertiser Sport. “It's quite hard work we’ve been putting the boys through.

“Iain’s been doing the fitness side; he’s really embraced it, and took it to the next level. He’s enjoyed it and the boys have enjoyed it. It’s going well.”

The management team suggested the role for Syme as they knew he had a keen interest in fitness. Furthermore, it takes a burden off Beaton and Duncan and allows them to work on coaching.

Beaton said: “He’s young, he enjoys it and he wants to get involved.

“The boys have thoroughly enjoyed it. We’ve had the 20s along training with us as well, mixing it up with the first team.

“It’s been a collective team effort.

“Everything’s gearing up for the season and hopefully we can get a better start than last season.”

Danny Smith and Chic Bell have told previously Advertiser Sport of their struggles to pinpoint what caused Sauchie’s slow start last season – where they didn’t pick up a point for five matches – and Beaton is hopeful that won’t happen again this year.

Beaton said: “I think when you’re in the heat of the pre-season you don’t think there’s any issues, you think everything’s going along great which it was last year.

“Then you come up against your first four or five games and you’re scratching your head wondering what happened.

“We’ve certainly got the squad; we’ve certainly got the talent and the ability within the players.

“It’s just having that mentality. That winning mentality and also that mental strength to go and do week in, week out.

“The squad we’ve got now is really strong enough to challenge other teams pushing for promotion but we’ve got to do it on a regular basis.”

With a core of players retained from last season’s campaign, the management staff are now looking for those new players to come in and make the difference to the team.

Beaton added: “We’ve got 17 players from last year signed up so that tells us as a management team that we’re doing something right.

“We just want to make a couple of additions to enhance the squad.”

Sauchie’s pre-season begins away to Cumbernauld Utd on July 9.

They then face Camelon Juniors at home on July 12, Dunipace away on July 14 and Arthurlie at home on July 16.

Pre-season ends with the Sauchie Cup, where different age groups within the club will face other, on July 23.