McGroarty may be next to exit Shielfield

GRANT McNicoll is almost certain to re-sign for Berwick Rangers within the next few days.

Another player has accepted terms and a leading junior will join the club when pre-season training begins in two weeks time.

That is the good news.

But manager John Coughlin has warned there could be more bad news with the popular Chris McGroarty possibly becoming the sixth Shielfield player to join Stenhousemuir.

"If it happens we will just have to take the blow on the chin and battle on," said Mr Coughlin." Chris has not yet made up his mind but he is in talks with Stenny. He has other options and staying on at Shielfield is one of them."

The return of McNicoll is a boost for the fans, shaken and angry that so many of a successful squad have jumped ship for Stenny but it is something they have been through before.

After Tom Hendry moved from Berwick to take over the Alloa Athletic job 10 years ago, he persuaded Mark Cowan, Willie Irvine and Craig Valentine to follow him. Cowan is one of those moving on to Ochilview this time.

Sean Paliczka, who joined Berwick from East Fife in January has accepted terms and will stay at Shielfield. Manager Coughlin said the player did have considerable potential and Rangers will work hard with him during the pre-season to instill in him the belief that he can become a regular goal scorer.

"He runs into all the right positions but he had difficulty finishing things off and he only scored once for us but he did show enough to convince me he is worth persevering with . He is pacy and he is tricky."

Stuart Fraser from Arniston Rangers has also joined Berwick. Coughlin knows him well from the days when he was on the management team at Arniston and rates him highly.

"He is a midfielder and a good one, but he can also play at the back. He had a very good pedigree as a youngster, playing for the Under 21s at international level and he spent two years at Luton Town where he also did quite well" he said. "He then had a brief spell in Australia before returning to Scotland and joining the juniors but he is now looking forward to the chance of rebuilding his senior career."

The Rangers manager also revealed that he hopes to have news of further signings within the next week or two.

"We are working very hard and we know the importance of having a competitive squad" he stressed.

Four pre-season friendlies have already been arranged, beginning on Saturday, July 8 when former Berwick manager Eric Tait will bring his double winning Northern League side Newcastle Blue Star to a ground he knows so well.

"I am aware of the great respect in which Eric is held among the Berwick fans and he has been very co-operative in helping arrange this match" said Mr Coughlin.

The following Tuesday Berwick take on Edinburgh United at home, and then travel to Ashington on July 15.

They will then play Hartlepool United at home on Tuesday, July 18, in the Tweedmouth Feast Trophy. Hartlepool have won this match every time it hs been played and they will provide tough opposition.

"We hope to arrange two more games against good quality sides so that we can provide top entertainment for the fans" the manager added. "It has been difficult to arrange because Hibernian play in the UEFA Cup this year and other teams are going on tour" he promised.