In addition to today’s preseason match with First Division Raith Rovers F.C., Ross County also sent their U20 squad- bolstered by a few members of the senior side- to play against Highland League side Lossiemouth F.C.. I’ll be back later today with the results of these two matches, but of more interest is that there are three trialists taking part in the match against Raith Rovers.
The only trialist about whom anything is known is one Jonathan Bateson, a right back. Bateson began his career in Blackburn Rovers F.C.’s youth academy, though he never appeared for the senior side. Bateson then made a few moves in the lower levels of the League system and the upper levels of the Conference system before settling at Macclesfield Town F.C. last season. When Macclesfield were relegated they cleared the decks, releasing over 20 players- Bateson being among them. Bateson is still only 22, but needs a bounce-back season in order to stop the decline that began with his leaving Blackburn in 2009. So, he’s young, presumably out to re-prove himself, and County need a right back.
The other two trialists, I can only assume, must also be defenders. Manager Derek Adams has made a point of mentioning the need for the club to improve its back line at every media-related opportunity he’s had in the past two weeks, so it would make sense. It also makes sense that he is looking at three players as his stated goal is to have a first team squad of 24 when the season opens and the roster currently stands at 21 players.
UPDATE: The “primary” match with Raith Rovers finished 1-1 with the County goal coming from Sam Morrow. That’s Morrow’s third goal in the first two matches and just the kind of form that the team needs from a “bench player” in order to get the best out of the forwards in the starting line-up.