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    Brown banking on Reynolds cash

  • Archive

    Craigan prepared for first day trials

  • Archive

    Youth team start at Hibs

  • Archive

    So it begins again…

  • Archive

    Brown predicts difficult fixture

  • Archive

    Breidablik ticket information

  • Archive

    This will be tough

  • Archive

    Players wary of Breidablik threat

  • Archive

    We’ll be ready

  • Archive

    ‘Well face Icelandic test

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    Brown banking on Reynolds cash

    Craig Brown has admitted losing talented defender Mark Reynolds may be his only hope of adding more faces to the squad.

    The Motherwell boss today confirmed he has a budget for an additional goalkeeper and striker, but anything over and above that may only be possible with the sale of Reynolds.

    With the financial situation, perpetuated by the demise of Setanta, really starting to bite in Scotland, every club have to cut their cloth accordingly.

    And Brown knows that although it would be a wrench to lose Reynolds, who has interested a host of clubs south of the border, he could only wish him well after this honest approach with the club.

    “Mark wants to progress his career and he has been very good to Motherwell,” said the Fir Park boss.

    “He was an ever-present and missed just one game in the last two seasons, the last game of last season at Ibrox.

    “Mark Reynolds deserves the best move he can get and the club is supportive of his move because it would benefit the club financially but also because it would benefit Mark and he has been such a good servant here.

    “But we have not had one official enquiry to the club for him. His agent is working on it. We would lose a terrific player but it would give us funds to strengthen the team.

    “Without Mark going, we can’t sign anyone other than budget. That’s it in a nutshell.”

    One club reported in the press to be monitoring the progress of the 23-year-old is Nottingham Forest, bossed by former ‘Well chief Billy Davies.

    Brown has made tentative steps to establish whether Davies – who was his assistant at Preston – is interested in Reynolds and backed the defender to be a hit if he did win a move to Forest.

    He said: “Billy Davies is on holiday in the USA. Billy and I are very friendly and he hasn’t discussed Mark with me.

    “That doesn’t mean to say that he won’t when he comes back from his break but he hasn’t so far.

    “I’ve heard that story too so I sent him a text message yesterday to see what was happening and whether he was interested. I think he gets back from his holiday tomorrow.

    “It’s just so I can say to the player that there is an interest in him. Mark deserves that, there is no finer guy.

    “I think Nottingham would be excellent for him. I know their two centre-backs and I think he’s at least as good or better than them, that’s my considered and humble opinion. He would strengthen Nottingham Forest in my opinion but I’m not picking Billy’s team for him as Billy would tell you.

    “We are good friends and he knows what I think of Mark Reynolds and we have very seldom differed on the opinion of a player. We still agree on the quality of a football player.”

  • Archive

    Craigan prepared for first day trials

    Motherwell skipper Stephen Craigan reckons everyone is raring to go ahead of tomorrow’s first day of pre-season training.

    And the 33-year-old says that is down to one man, fitness and physiotherapy guru John Porteous, widely regarded as the best in his profession north of the border.

    Porteous gave each player a specific summer training programme to compensate for the fact that ‘Well will be playing competitive games just over two-weeks into the pre-season preparations.

    And Craigan is confident both he and the rest of the squad will be returning in tip-top condition thanks to the wonder of modern scientific techniques.

    “Training has become an exact science and every SPL club indulges in sports science now,” the 48 times capped Northern Ireland International said.

    “Footballers did not seem to bother with it as much in the past. We are lucky at Motherwell because John (Porteous) is one of the best fitness coaches and dieticians in the game.

    “Before we embarked on our holidays he gave us all a programme to work on to keep us ticking over until we came back. It was basically a series of jogging, sprinting, running, gym and bike exercises.

    “He told all the players to take at least two weeks of complete rest then work on the fitness programmes. I’d be surprised if everyone stuck to it like the letter of the law but the advice is there to keep you active and fit.

    “Footballers still dread the first day of pre-season. The weigh-in has become a ritual we fear. It can be a laugh but it’s not something we look forward to.

    “John will weigh us on Monday and take account of weight ratios, body mass ratios and fat ratios.

    “If anyone has let themselves go a bit it will become public knowledge in the dressing-room. We’re all scared of getting slaughtered for putting on some beef. Most of our guys are used to keeping themselves in shape because we have been playing early European ties.

    “Players are human though and we do like wine, beer and a packet of crisps. There are some guys who will put on weight just by looking at a Mars bar.

    “But everyone knows their own strengths and weaknesses.

    “On the first day back the running won’t be so intense. We will build it up gradually by doing short sprints – like the runs you make in a game. We might do longer runs but that is a rarity these days at any club.”

    ‘Well were a club in major transition this time last year after gaffer Mark McGhee quit to take the Aberdeen job.

    A new manager still hadn’t been appointed when the players returned to training – so Craigan had to step in and oversee their preparations.

    The 33-year-old enjoyed putting the squad through their paces and learned a lot from his brief spell in charge.

    But Jim Gannon eventually took over just 72 hours before their first European tie with Welsh minnows Llanelli.

    And Craigan is glad there is much more stability at Fir Park this summer under experienced duo Brown and Knox.

    He said: “Last season I was thrust into the situation and devised programmes to make training enjoyable for myself as well as the team.

    “It was interesting because it gave me a new perspective on being a footballer and the preparation that is actually involved in coaching. The club were all over the place last year and needed somebody to take the training – so I stepped in.

    “It couldn’t have been that bad as a lot of the lads texted me and said how much they enjoyed the week.

    “But I was happy I didn’t have to take the team for a European tie or a crucial SPL battle. That is an entirely different proposition and much more difficult. I still loved the responsibility and we had fun even though we were in the serious business of trying to get ourselves fit for games in Europe.

    “We now have two managers who are more than capable of preparing us. We are in good hands on and off the park with Craig and Archie.”

    ‘Well were given a bloody nose by Welsh minnows Llanelli in their first Euro tie last year as they lost 1-0 to the 16/1 shots at Fir Park.

    But they turned it around in the second leg then battered Albanian side Flamurtari 8-1 at Fir Park after losing 1-0 in the first leg.

    That left the Steelmen on the brink of the Europa League group stage but they were drawn against former European champions Steaua Bucharest.

    And the class of the Romanian giants told as they won 6-1 on aggregate.

    Now Craigan hopes those experiences can help the Steelmen go one step further in Europe this season.

    He said: “We came in for a lot of criticism for losing to Llanelli.

    “But the reality of that game is that we battered them. Llanelli scored with one of only two shots they had on target. The players took a lot of stick and I can understand why. But we recovered and beat the Albanians before losing to Steaua Bucharest in the final qualifying round.

    “Whether or not we can reach the group stages remains to be seen. However, the players prefer competitive games in the Europa League to boring pre-season friendlies.

    “It is also a nice feeling to put on your CV that you have sampled the delights of European football. We have done that at Fir Park for the past three seasons – which is a fine achievement for the club.

    “It would be an even greater achievement if Motherwell did make the group stages this season.”

  • Archive

    Youth team start at Hibs

    Gordon Young’s U19 side will begin the new season with a trip to Edinburgh to face Hibernian.

    The young Steelmen, who finished runners-up to Celtic last year, head to the capital before a home clash with newly-promoted Inverness Caley Thistle and a Lanarkshire derby against Hamilton Accies.

    ‘Well will go with a very young side this term with plenty of 93’s and 94’s in the squad and Young has made it clear this campaign will be one of transition.

    “I spoke to the official site at the end of last season about the break-up of the U19 team and that has happened in a big way,” he said.

    “We’ll probably have one of, if not the, youngest squad in the league and probably the youngest Motherwell have ever had at this level.

    “We’ve seen a lot of players rightly promoted to the first-team and there will only be two or three players who were regulars this season still involved with the team.

    “There will be a big responsibility on those lads to help the youngsters through. But that’s the way we want to be at Motherwell. We want our 93’s and 94’s to have a good year in the youth league then, at the age of 17 or 18, make a push for a senior contract, much like many of their successful predecessors at this club.”

  • Archive

    So it begins again…

    Despite reporting early for pre-season training for the second consecutive season, ‘Well skipper Stephen Craigan reckons everyone is raring to go.

    And the 33-year-old says that is down to one man, fitness and physiotherapy guru John Porteous, widely regarded as the best in his profession north of the border.

    Porteous gave each player a specific summer training programme to compensate for the fact that ‘Well will be playing competitive games just over two-weeks into the pre-season preparations.

    And Craigan is confident both he and the rest of the squad will be returning in tip-top condition thanks to the wonder of modern scientific techniques.

    “Training has become an exact science and every SPL club indulges in sports science now,” the 48 times capped Northern Ireland International said.

    “Footballers did not seem to bother with it as much in the past. We are lucky at Motherwell because John (Porteous) is one of the best fitness coaches and dieticians in the game.

    “Before we embarked on our holidays he gave us all a programme to work on to keep us ticking over until we came back. It was basically a series of jogging, sprinting, running, gym and bike exercises.

    “He told all the players to take at least two weeks of complete rest then work on the fitness programmes. I’d be surprised if everyone stuck to it like the letter of the law but the advice is there to keep you active and fit.

    “Footballers still dread the first day of pre-season. The weigh-in has become a ritual we fear. It can be a laugh but it’s not something we look forward to.

    “John will weigh us on Monday and take account of weight ratios, body mass ratios and fat ratios.

    “If anyone has let themselves go a bit it will become public knowledge in the dressing-room. We’re all scared of getting slaughtered for putting on some beef. Most of our guys are used to keeping themselves in shape because we have been playing early European ties.

    “Players are human though and we do like wine, beer and a packet of crisps. There are some guys who will put on weight just by looking at a Mars bar.

    “But everyone knows their own strengths and weaknesses.

    “On the first day back the running won’t be so intense. We will build it up gradually by doing short sprints – like the runs you make in a game. We might do longer runs but that is a rarity these days at any club.”

    ‘Well were a club in major transition this time last year after gaffer Mark McGhee quit to take the Aberdeen job.

    A new manager still hadn’t been appointed when the players returned to training – so Craigan had to step in and oversee their preparations.

    The 33-year-old enjoyed putting the squad through their paces and learned a lot from his brief spell in charge.

    But Jim Gannon eventually took over just 72 hours before their first European tie with Welsh minnows Llanelli.

    And Craigan is glad there is much more stability at Fir Park this summer under experienced duo Brown and Knox.

    He said: “Last season I was thrust into the situation and devised programmes to make training enjoyable for myself as well as the team.

    “It was interesting because it gave me a new perspective on being a footballer and the preparation that is actually involved in coaching. The club were all over the place last year and needed somebody to take the training – so I stepped in.

    “It couldn’t have been that bad as a lot of the lads texted me and said how much they enjoyed the week.

    “But I was happy I didn’t have to take the team for a European tie or a crucial SPL battle. That is an entirely different proposition and much more difficult. I still loved the responsibility and we had fun even though we were in the serious business of trying to get ourselves fit for games in Europe.

    “We now have two managers who are more than capable of preparing us. We are in good hands on and off the park with Craig and Archie.”

    ‘Well were given a bloody nose by Welsh minnows Llanelli in their first Euro tie last year as they lost 1-0 to the 16/1 shots at Fir Park.

    But they turned it around in the second leg then battered Albanian side Flamurtari 8-1 at Fir Park after losing 1-0 in the first leg.

    That left the Steelmen on the brink of the Europa League group stage but they were drawn against former European champions Steaua Bucharest.

    And the class of the Romanian giants told as they won 6-1 on aggregate.

    Now Craigan hopes those experiences can help the Steelmen go one step further in Europe this season.

    He said: “We came in for a lot of criticism for losing to Llanelli.

    “But the reality of that game is that we battered them. Llanelli scored with one of only two shots they had on target. The players took a lot of stick and I can understand why. But we recovered and beat the Albanians before losing to Steaua Bucharest in the final qualifying round.

    “Whether or not we can reach the group stages remains to be seen. However, the players prefer competitive games in the Europa League to boring pre-season friendlies.

    “It is also a nice feeling to put on your CV that you have sampled the delights of European football. We have done that at Fir Park for the past three seasons – which is a fine achievement for the club.

    “It would be an even greater achievement if Motherwell did make the group stages this season.”

  • Archive

    Brown predicts difficult fixture

    Craig Brown expects a tough encounter when his side come up against Icelanders Breidablik next month.

    The Motherwell boss has just returned from the middle-east where he has been giving his expert analysis for Al Jazeera television during the World Cup.

    And speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, Brown spoke of his admiration for Icelandic football and the difficulties he expects to encounter when the sides meet on July 15th.

    “When the draw was made, I have to confess, I wasn’t familiar with the team Breidablik,” Brown admitted.

    “However, all my experiences of Icelandic football, both as a player and as a coach with the national team, have been very positive. I have great respect for Icelandic football; although they have a small population, they are extremely enthusiastic and overcome their geographical difficulties with great expertise.

    “But it will be a very tricky fixture for us. We have got to show respect to our opponents and we’ll have to be at our very best to win the tie.

    “By the time we play Breidablik, they’ll have played 12 or 13 league matches and will be sharp. Moreover, as footballers, the Icelanders take great pride in their physical fitness and stature.

    “But I won’t use the fact that we won’t have played any competitive matches as an excuse. We’ll have had three testing friendly matches, which we’ll treat as competitive matches, and will be fit and fresh for the first match here at Fir Park on July 15th.

    “I understand the club have made the ticket prices quite competitive so hopefully the fans really come out and back the players.”

    Brown also revealed that he has been busy in the last two weeks identifying potential targets.

    Although any move looks increasingly unlikely, the 69-year-old still harbours hopes of capturing Everton due John Ruddy and Lukas Jutkiewicz.

    He also revealed a move for a Spanish striker who will join the club on trial next week as the players return for pre-season training.

    “We’re trying to improve the squad, that’s for sure,” said Brown.

    “We have lost four players, well, two for sure in Jim O’Brien and Michael McGlinchey but most probably four if you add John Ruddy and Lukas Jutkiewicz. With each day that passes, the odds on them coming back are lengthening. We’re not totally writing them off as yet though; David Moyes has told me that both will start pre-season with them before they make a decision.

    “If he doesn’t try and sell them, then we’ll reiterate our interest in both players. But we’ve got other irons in the fire. We’ve got a Spanish lad, Carlos Gazapo, coming in on trial. He spent last season with Rayo Vallecano. The season before he finished the league’s top scorer with Vallecas so we’ll have a look at him to see how he shows up in training.”

  • Archive

    Breidablik ticket information

    The club can today confirm ticket information for the First Leg of the Europa League tie against Breidablik, scheduled for July 15th at Fir Park.

    Craig Brown’s men return to European action with a tough task against the Icelanders who are already well into their season and challenging for the league title.

    So it is essential Fir Park is full, noisy and colourful for the visit of Breidablik and as such, the club have confirmed the following ticket prices:

    • Adults £15 (all stands)
    • Juveniles £5 (all stands) *
    • Families £20 (Cooper stand) **

    Tickets will go on general sale on Thursday 24th June at 1pm and fans are reminded that they, in line with UEFA guidelines, will be required to supply a name and address details for each ticket holder.

    Please also note that there will be no purchasing restrictions on home tickets at any time.

    Fans should also be aware that season tickets are not valid for the game. Ticket information for the second leg has still to be confirmed.

    *Juveniles are listed as Under 16’s.
    **Family Tickets are listed as 1x Adult and up to x3 Juveniles and can only be purchased at the Ticket Office or over the phone.

  • Archive

    This will be tough

    Motherwell players have been quick to dispel any misconception that the Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round will be a walk in the park.

    The Steelmen have been paired with Breidablik and despite no-one at Fir Park knowing too much about the Icelanders, there is absolutely no-one at Fir Park underestimating their opponents.

    Young midfield star Ross Forbes has special reason to be cautious; he was part of the Scotland U19 squad that lost twice to Iceland back in 2007.

    “I went to play Iceland with Scotland in a couple of challenge games a few years ago and we lost both 1-0 and 3-0,” he said.

    “They were very strong, good technically and were set up well. We can’t think we are through – that’s the wrong attitude to go into a game with. They were a very good side then and there is a chance I could come up against some of the same players.”

    The first leg is at Fir Park on Thursday, July 15, with the return leg a week later in Kopavogur just outside Reykjavik.

    And Forbes feels they are better prepared than last year when they crashed out to Steaua Bucharest in the third qualifying round.

    He added: “We are a year older now and have guys in Craig Brown and Archie Knox who have so much experience to help us.

    “We will be expected to go through and it would be good if we could get some luck and reach the group stages.”

    Fellow youngster Steven Saunders admitted he knows very little of Breidablik but still expects a really tough test when the tie comes round on July 15th.

    Saunders said: “We’ve been pulled out of the hat to play a side I honestly don’t know anything about.

    “The journey to Iceland shouldn’t be difficult but I’ll keep my fingers crossed there isn’t any more volcanic ash.

    “It’s all about making sure we have the match sharpness required to hit the ground running so we can make a real impact in the tournament this season.

    “We won’t be taking anything for granted just because they’re not a household name. They’ve qualified for the Europa League qualifiers so they must be decent.”

  • Archive

    Players wary of Breidablik threat

    The Motherwell players have been quick to dispel any misconception that the Europa League second qualifying round will be a walk in the park.

    The Steelmen have been paired with Breidablik and despite no-one at Fir Park knowing too much about the Icelanders, there is absolutely no-one underestimating them.

    Midfielder Ross Forbes has special reason to be cautious as he was part of the Scotland U19 squad that lost twice to Iceland back in 2007.

    “I went to play Iceland with Scotland in a couple of challenge games a few years ago and we lost both 1-0 and 3-0,” he said.

    “They were very strong, good technically and were set up well. We can’t think we are through – that’s the wrong attitude to go into a game with. They were a very good side then and there is a chance I could come up against some of the same players.”

    The first leg is at Fir Park on Thursday 15th July, with the return leg a week later in Kopavogur, just outside Reykjavik.

    And Forbes feels they are better prepared than last year when they crashed out to Steaua Bucharest in the third qualifying round.

    He added: “We are a year older now and have guys in Craig Brown and Archie Knox who have so much experience to help us.

    “We will be expected to go through and it would be good if we could get some luck and reach the group stages.”

    Fellow youngster Steven Saunders admitted he knows very little of Breidablik but still expects a really tough test when the tie comes round on July 15th.

    Saunders said: “We’ve been pulled out of the hat to play a side I honestly don’t know anything about.

    “The journey to Iceland shouldn’t be difficult but I’ll keep my fingers crossed there isn’t any more volcanic ash.

    “It’s all about making sure we have the match sharpness required to hit the ground running so we can make a real impact in the tournament this season.

    “We won’t be taking anything for granted just because they’re not a household name. They’ve qualified for the Europa League qualifiers so they must be decent.”

  • Archive

    We’ll be ready

    Veteran midfielder Keith Lasley insists he and his ‘Well team-mates have learned some harsh lessons from the European campaigns of the last two seasons.

    The Fir Parkers will be the first of the Scottish qualifiers to learn their fate this afternoon when the draw takes place in Geneva for the Europa League first and second qualifying rounds

    Motherwell’s European dream almost ended in tatters at the first hurdle last July when they lost 1-0 to Welsh part-timers Llanelli in the first qualifying round.

    The managerless side started pre-season training less than a week before their opening tie while Jim Gannon took charge of the side just two days ahead of the clash at Airdrie’s New Broomfield

    The Steelmen restored some of their battered pride by winning the return leg 3-0 before battering Flamurtar 8-1 then eventually going down to Steaua Bucharest in the third qualifying round.

    ‘Well face another early end to their summer break this year, starting pre-season training on June 28 before lining up in the first leg of their Europa League second round qualifying tie on July 15.

    Lasley said: “We took some real stick for losing to Llanelli last season and rightfully so.

    “They had this massive guy Andy Mumford playing in midfield – he was carrying a fair bit but ran the show and was sprinting past most of our guys. We couldn’t catch him and it just showed how unfit we were.

    “It is difficult to get into your head that you are playing in a European competition without having any game time under your belt. Losing to Llanelli put us under real pressure but hopefully last season’s experience will benefit us.

    “There were problems off the field back then – we didn’t have a manager in place and Stephen Craigan was taking the team. Craig and Archie will have us well prepared this time and we will know who we will be facing well in advance. We need to show we have learned our lesson as we will be expected to progress in the tournament this time.

    “Hibs, Dundee United and Motherwell all know we have a duty to perform on the European platform and if one of us makes an early exit we will cop some flak.”

    Having crashed out to AS Nancy of France in 2008 and former European Champions Steaua Bucharest in 2009, Lasley is keen to go one better and help well into the group stages of the competition.

    He said: “Motherwell have done brilliantly in qualifying for Europe three times on the spin but we fell short the last two years in going out to Nancy and Steaua Bucharest in the round before the group stage.

    “I remember watching and being jealous of Aberdeen when they played Bayern Munich a couple of seasons ago. That’s the kind of stage you want to play on and they showed it’s possible to reach the group phase.

    “Scottish clubs have not done too well in recent times in the Europa League but hopefully Motherwell can buck that trend this season.”

  • Archive

    ‘Well face Icelandic test

    Motherwell have been drawn to play Breidablik in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

    The draw, which took place this afternoon in Nyon, Switzerland, pitted ‘Well against the Icelandic side with the first game due to take place at Fir Park on Thursday 15th July.

    Breidablik, who are currently second in their league after eight games, play at the Kópavogsvöllur Stadium which has a capacity of just 1,869.

    They qualified for the Europa League as VISA-bikar (Icelandic FA Cup) winners – the first time they have lifted the 40-year-old trophy. In the same season, they finished as runners-up in Deildarbikarinn (League Cup) so will provide very difficult opposition for Craig Brown’s men.