Goalkeeper Jim Atkinson has described Danny Grainger’s style of play as ‘natural’ to him ahead of the new season.
The stopper, who arrived from Gretna this summer, discussed the modern expectations of being between the sticks, competition with teammate Alex Mitchell and term 2019-20 aspirations.
When asked about playing with the ball at his feet, Atkinson said:
It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve always tried to do.
Last year it was difficult where I was, struggling to get points and it was a different game, but when I was full-time at Queen of the South, that was the way I was taught to play.
It’s natural for me and hopefully, we can kick on and it’ll be a good season.
Mitchell, a longtime friend of Atkinson, will be providing competition and both have featured in an impressive pre-season for Reds.
The battle between the sticks is something Atkinson relishes, though, saying:
You get slow if you don’t have that competition.
Mitch and I have been good friend for years, we’ve grown up playing football together; it’s healthy competition. We both want to do well, so it’s good for us both.
We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we both help each other to overcome them and strive from those things.
It’s not just in goal where gaffer Grainger will have selection headaches, and Atkinson believes in the squad’s deep quality.
There’s real strength in depth. You can see that with the results that we’ve had in pre-season, even with lads missing and injuries.
We’ve done well, we’ve picked up wins and played well against teams in higher divisions than us.
Obviously, there’s high expectations and fingers crossed, we can deliver.
Reds travel to The Skuna Stadium tomorrow to face Atherton Collieries with kick-off at 3pm, before an opening training session next Thursday night at Borough Park, getting underway from 6:30pm.