Wednesday 12th August 2020

RICO QUITONGO has spent the close season getting himself stronger.

Now he hopes that he can do the same for Dumbarton – and give them a season for the history books.

When Sons return to action, they’ll have a left back who has added nearly an extra stone of muscle since football stopped in March.

Having won the Sonstrust young player of the year award last season, his new one-year deal was a major boost to preparation for season 2020/21.

All of the players who ended last season as the first choice back four have returned – and now Rico hopes things can move forward.

And while he wants to maintain the high standard which won him the award, he also aims to add to the attacking side of his game.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Rico said: “For my first senior year I thought it went great, but for me personally, I feel I should have done more.

“To win young player of the year was great, but I wanted to get up the other end of the pitch more and chip in more assists and goals.

“But I was very consistent with the defensive side of my game, and to be named young player of the year was an honour for me.

“It’s been a frustrating time recently as I was hoping to get games under my belt, but I’ve put in more time with the gym and running and put on 10lb of muscle.

“I feel stronger and quicker and hopefully the fans will see it this year when they are allowed back into games.”

Although Rico has aspirations to go further in the game, one important point made it an easy decision to commit himself to a further year at Dumbarton.

And there are other positives – including his first experience of hearing his name being sung on the sidelines on a Saturday.

He continued: “To go full-time was my aim, but with Covid-19 coming along things changed. Teams offered me deals, but as soon as I knew Jim Duffy was staying as manager that was important.

“I was keeping my options open and when I said I’d be delighted to sign for Dumbarton it was all done within a day.

“I do want to go full-time but you need to be realistic. The manager has always been honest with me and getting to work with him and the players next season will be a major plus for me.

“And there are the fans, who week in, week out make us stronger. I’ve never heard people singing my name before.

“I’ve heard fans singing my dad and brother’s names, but not mine until last season. It’s really good to know the fans are happy with me.”

Copyright Fullarton Photos 2020

It is almost time for Dumbarton’s players to start thinking about the new campaign, with pre-season training due to start soon.

Before the assault on League One begins, there will be at least two Betfred Cup group stage ties, with the remainder being played in November.

The schedule – which will see fixtures against Kilmarnock, Dunfermline Athletic, Clyde and Falkirk – is currently unknown, but Rico is looking forward to it regardless.

He added: “I see a few people saying we’ve got the group of death, but I think it’s brilliant and you just never know what can happen. We’ve got nothing to lose.

“I’m sure we’ll give Falkirk, Kilmarnock and Dunfermline a good game. When Falkirk came to our place last season they struggled, and Raith beat us when we should have got a draw before we beat them the second time.

“It’s opposition from a higher division but for me, it will be great to test us against better players. We’ve got the league to come after we’ve played some of those ties and it will stand us in good stead.

“I honestly was a bit disappointed last year. People say that we had a good season to finish in mid-table but not for me, and not for the gaffer either.

“We got stronger as it went on, and stronger again in January, and we felt that our team was good enough for the playoffs if we could make them.

“This season, we’ll aim to do our talking on the pitch. For me, it’s a case of going as far as we can and you never know what can happen.

“Dumbarton is not an easy place for other teams to come to and all we need is to build some consistency into our results.

“We’ve kept our back four on board and it’ll be a fresh midfield, so it will take time to blend, but hopefully by the start of the season we’ll be ready.”

Andy Galloway

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