Montrose make signings

MONTROSE manager Jim Weir is continuing to assemble a squad for the new season. The Links Park gaffer followed up the securing of striker John Baird on a new one-year contract, with the signing of experienced right-back David Worrell from Dundee and striker Joe Savage from East Stirling.

"I'm delighted to have fixed up John Baird again," said Jim.

"It was felt that John might move on, but in the end he decided it was more beneficial for him to stay where he was.

"Any striker who can score 22 goals in a season would be hard to replace, so I am delighted he is staying."

Jim is certain that Baird will continue to bang in the goals in the coming campaign.

"John is a natural finisher and he works very hard as well.

"I'm pleased to get David Worrell. He had a year left on his contract with Dundee, but he was keen to move into part-time football and build a career outside the game.

"We kept our interest in him very close to our chest in case some other club moved in."

Irishman Worrell is 31 on his next birthday and has played with Dundee United and Plymouth. He lives in Dundee, so the geography was right for Montrose to make their move.

"Joe Savage had a terrific record for East Stirling last year. The fact that East Stirling did so well early on was largely down to his goals.

"He scored a couple against ourselves, so I know how difficult he is to deal with.

"Joe needs a minor groin operation which will hopefully be done in the next two or three weeks, but he is likely to miss our pre-season programme."

Jim now has the signing of a centre-half as his main target. Ross Gardiner is going for an operation on a shoulder which will keep him out for six to nine months, so he has not been offered a new contract.

"I have told Ross that when he is on the road to recovery he can come in and train with us to get himself fit and we will see where we are for next season."

Jim is continuing to keep an eye on Garry Wood and Steven Doris, who have returned to Caley Thistle and St Johnstone respectively.

"It may be possible to get one or both of these lads on loan as they did well for us, but we will wait and see."

The Montrose players begin pre-season training on June 24 and home friendlies against Dundee, St Johnstone and Brechin have already been fixed up.

"I would like one more friendly, although we are still trying to work out the best date for it.

"With the season starting early this year (July 26) it has upset our plans a bit."

Montrose will begin their competitive season away to Peterhead in the first round of the Challenge Cup and Jim knows it will be a tough test.

"Last season we did very well against sides from higher divisions in the cups.

"It will be a difficult tie, but it is one we are looking forward to. Peterhead are a strong side and it is never an easy place to go."

Some people have Montrose as favourites for the Division Three title in the season ahead, but the manager dismisses that kind of talk.

"We were very unfortunate to miss out in the play-offs when decisions didn't go our way against Stranraer, but we were probably the best footballing side in the league last season."

With Gretna dropping out of the league, both of the play-off finalists, Arbroath and Stranraer, have been promoted.

"We have to learn from the experience of last season and this time try to go one better."