Tuesday 14th June 2016

GAFFER Stevie Aitken is still having to be patient – but revealed that new signing Ryan Stevenson turned down Premiership clubs to sign for Dumbarton.

The Sons squad for season 2016/17 is still a work in progress as talks continue with signing targets and their representatives.

But the capture of Stevenson, who was with Championship rivals Ayr United, was one he was pleased to complete – especially with top-flight competition.

Stevie said: “We are still in negotiations with players and agents. It’s taking longer than we would like in some cases, but we have competition from other teams and we are just waiting for the OK to get things done.

“We had been working on Ryan’s signing for the best part of seven weeks when we heard he might be available. We are glad that what we said made him decide to join us.

“He could have gone back to the Premiership, as he had offers at that level. However, he felt it was the right time.

“It might give us an early advantage on Ayr, but they recruit well and have some players who are full-time. They still have the upper hand on us in that respect.”

With Mark Docherty now re-signed, and Steven Saunders having left the club, only Christian Nade has still to resolve his future out of last season’s squad.

But Stevie doesn’t expect the big striker to return, and may use Saturday’s first pre-season training session to look at players he could bring in.

The squad will assemble at Bellahouston Sports Club for their first pre-season work-out, which will follow a similar format to last year.

Stevie added: “The main focus is to look after your own players. Christian has always said he wants to return to full-time football and hopefully he will get something that suits him.

“Losing Steven Saunders and Jon Routledge wasn’t ideal, but we’ve done well with who we have recruited. We are still two or three short and we are working hard to try to get them on board.

“There may be one or two players joining us for training to see how we operate and see if it works for them. I like working with players who are signed, but we can take a look at some potential signings at the same time.

“Similarly, there may be trialists involved in the friendly matches we have lined up, in order to see how they fit in. But the main idea is to get our own players as much game time as possible.”

Andy Galloway

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