Manager Jim Duffy says anticipation is high ahead of tomorrow’s big Ladbrokes Championship kick off away at Dumbarton and acknowledges that the demanding 36-game league season is where his team will earn their stripes.
Looking ahead to the league season, Jim said:
“I think everybody looks forward to the league campaign starting. It’s where you’re judged, ultimately, in terms of your consistency over the whole season.
“That’s where players really earn their stripes. You can have a one-off game in a cup competition and get a lot of publicity for it.
“But it’s that week in, week out consistency in a very competitive league that really is the test of whether you’re a good side or not.”
Under Duffy’s guidance, the club has shown improvement each season in terms of their final league placing, but the Cappielow gaffer insists previous years are not a barometer for the season ahead. He explained:
“You’re always trying to move forward, trying to improve, trying to improve the quality of the football and the club in all aspects.
“And I think Morton is moving forward in a lot of areas, both on and off the pitch, but ultimately you’re judged by each season – not your last season.
“The season ahead is what’s important. For us it’s about trying to maintain our level of performance.
“We know it will be difficult. Last year, no one spoke about us too much until the tail end of the season. This year people will be a lot more aware of us.”
Morton open with a match against Stevie Aitken’s Sons. Duffy is full admiration for the job the former Cappielow midfielder has done there and expects a tough 90 minutes:
“To go to Dumbarton is another step up; they’re a notoriously difficult side to play against. Stevie does a fantastic job there and it’ll be an extremely competitive match.”
When asked if his playing squad was now finalised for the season ahead, the 58-year-old said:
“We’re not quite sure yet, because we’ve never had all the players available, a full quota, to see where we are in terms of squad strength, the balance and the options.
“Once we get all our injured and suspended guys back in again, then we can look to see if we need to strength, and if we do in which areas.”
In terms of absentees, Gary Harkins and Darren Barr are both suspended for the match against the Sons. And Duffy gave an update on the injury situation, adding:
“Thomas O’Ware is still missing. Although he is stepping up his training, he hasn’t played any bounce games and still needs to get a couple under his belt to get up to speed.
“Ricki Lamie is now back full training. He missed a couple of weeks, but he did do a full pre-season and played a couple of games, so isn’t too far away.
“Gary Oliver still has a bit to find in terms of strength and Darren Barr would have been injured anyway, so we’ve still got a few missing.”
Image: Jonathan Mitchell