Picking up the pace ahead of Euro clash

Kenny Black (centre), with physio John Porteous (left) and manager Stuart McCall
Kenny Black (centre), with physio John Porteous (left) and manager Stuart McCall
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Motherwell assistant manager Kenny Black says the side need to get up and running as quickly as possible in time for next Thursday (July 17).

Fir Park is set to host Icelandic side Stjarnan in the Europa League second qualifying round and with them well into their season Black says his players couldn’t be afforded the luxury of easing into pre-season.

He said: “We took them over to Portugal for a week and it was really good being able to do three sessions a day to get their fitness up.

“Now we are back and into game. We have already faced Livingston and Morton and play Peterhead today (Wednesday) before hosting Fulham on Saturday.

“That will be a good test for us, certainly bigger than we’ve had so far, but it is the kind we need as everyone needs to get sharp as quickly as possible.

“While we are just starting the Icelandic players have played seven or eight competitive games already and we can’t allow that to be an excuse.”

Meanwhile, Black says no decision has yet been made on offering a deal to former ’Well favourite David Clarkson.

He said: “David was away with us in Portugal and did all the sessions with us and is now playing in the games, but we are still looking at him and considering our options.

“Henri Anier being sold came as a surprise, it was a good deal for both him and the club, but with Craig Moore being out it leaves us a bit short of strikers.

“Bringing in a striker is our priority, even above a centre-half to replace Shaun Hutchinson as we have cover there, but as yet there is no business to report.”