BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
LEWIS MILNE insists Gary Bollan’s boot camp is already paying dividends as super-fit Forfar keep pace with Manchester City as the only sides in British football with a 100 per cent league record.
The Loons endured a gruelling pre-season as Bollan made sure they were in prize condition for a tilt at the League 2 title.
Milne reckons that underlined the exacting standards demanded by the former Livingston boss, who won this division with the Lions in 2010/11, and has been vital in Forfar claiming four wins from losing positions this term.
Their biggest test, however, will come today when they travel to second-placed Clyde in a mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash.
“Gary is brilliant with us but he expects a lot from the players,” said Milne. “He sets high standards, works us really hard in training and everyone can see that’s paying off.
“He only wants the best for this club and the boys. Pre-season was really difficult, he really put us through our paces. It might not have been the most enjoyable things at the time – but we can already see the benefits. It is a competitive environment and that’s what you need.
“We’ve flown from the blocks and have already come back from behind a few times, so that fitness and sharpness has been vital.
“The gaffer knows what it takes to win this league and he is using all that experience and knowledge to get the best from us.”
Milne also reckons the camaraderie in the Forfar camp has been vital in their blistering start to the season, drawing parallels with the Cowdenbeath side that won the Second Division title in 2011/12.
“We are flying at the moment, it is a brilliant dressing room and all the boys are getting on really well,” he continued. “We all get on well and expect a lot from each other, it is a great environment to be in.
“The gaffer had an idea in his mind about who he wanted to recruit and the kind of personalities he wanted, and he has put together a really good mix of youth and experience.
“Guys like Jim Lister, Martyn Fotheringham – in his testimonial year – and Gavin Swankie are combined with lads like Josh Peters, who is in unbelievable form at the moment. It’s a good mix.
“I remember being a young player at Cowdenbeath when we one the title and that was build on having a great group and a brilliant spirit. That is vital when you want to go the distance and win a title – and there are definite similarities here.”