ANDREW Skinner was tonight unveiled as Nairn County’s first signing of the summer. The former Clachnacuddin full back has moved to Station Park on a three-year contract.
The 20-year-old linked up with his new team mates for the start of pre-season training as the build-up to the 2015/16 Highland League campaign began in earnest.
Skinner spoke exclusively to the club website before the hard work started at the Riverside training pitch this evening.
He said: “I am excited to join Nairn and get going with training because it has been a few months now since I finished last season with Clach.
“The club itself was a real draw – everything is done professionally here to the highest standard it can be and it feels right to come here.
“I want to start putting in as many good performances as I can straight away. I aim to work hard and hopefully that fits in with Les’s mentality.”
He added: “I already know the likes of Alan Pollock who was through at Clach before and I have been through to watch a couple of Nairn games as well, so I know what a lot of the boys are like on the pitch. I am now looking forward to training with them and getting stuck in about.
“I have been playing at full back for Clach and have played in a back four or a back three but I would say I am quite versatile and can fit into any position.”
Skinner started his career at Grant Street as a youngster before being spotted by Inverness CT and a move to the youth setup at the Caledonian Stadium followed. He then returned to Clach two years ago and was a member of the Lilywhites’ squad who lifted the 2014 Highland League Cup.
In one of his final games for the Inverness club, Skinner scored from the penalty spot in County’s 3-1 derby success over their local rivals at Station Park in March. But he realises he will have to join the back of a lengthy queue in the fight for spot kick duties at his new club.
He stated: “I think there are a few boys in the team already who like taking penalties, so I’ll be staying quiet on that front!”
Manager Les Fridge was delighted to conclude his first bit of business of the summer.
He said: “Andrew very much suits our squad – he is fit, energetic and versatile. About half of the players in our squad are very versatile and can play in various positions and that helps at this level of football. It also helps when you do not carry a huge squad, as we do at times.
“He can play at the back, he can play in the middle of the park and he can play out wide, so he can play in several areas for us and we will have a look at that over pre-season. He is still a young lad at only 20 years of age and I think he will be a really good addition for us.
“There were several other clubs looking at him but he has come here and I would say he has come for all of the right reasons, which I think is very refreshing. He is really keen and eager to get going and hopefully we can only benefit from that.”
Fridge will continue to look to freshen up his squad before the season opener against Inverurie Locos at Station Park on July 25th and will run the rule over some potential new recruits in the coming weeks.
He added: “I have a couple of irons in the fire and will continue to look at things. Hopefully there will be a bit of further news over the next couple of weeks.”
The manager spoke at Station Park prior to putting his squad through their paces for the first time since last season ended with a 2-1 win at Strathspey Thistle on April 25th.
“It has been six weeks since the end of last season but it has passed quickly,” he said. “We are starting things a couple of weeks earlier than usual for various reasons but the boys are all arriving in good fettle and it is nice to be back.”