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Graham Alexander wants more from Motherwell after stuttering pre-season

Celtic v Motherwell – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander is targeting improvement and has called on the returning fans to roar his team to victory over Hibernian following a tough pre-season.

Alexander has several players missing including Mark O’Hara and is still looking to complete his squad.

Motherwell won their Premier Sports Cup group but lost to Airdrie in front of 700 travelling fans in a Lanarkshire derby and had some other challenging moments along the way.

Alexander is happy with his recruitment so far, however, and is looking for a flying start against Hibernian at Fir Park on Sunday as his side look to better last season’s eighth-placed finish in the Scottish Premiership.

“In professional sport you have always got to try and improve everything you do, even if you are top of the tree,” he said. “And that’s the target for us.

“It’s been a broken pre-season really, recruitment has been difficult, getting the right players in. We have had a lot of trialists in just to fulfil fixtures and look at those guys.

“We have probably had our main squad training together for 10 days to two weeks.

“But that’s the challenge, I’m not saying I’m the only manager who has that challenge in football, certainly in these times.

“We are happy with our recruitment so far but we are still light in certain areas.

“We probably want to carry two or three players more than we first planned because of the issues with Covid, which are not going away.

“At any point we could lose players through no fault of our own and we have to be strong enough to withstand that as the season goes through.

“We are still looking and working hard, we have some players we are trying to get over the line and we have an open mind about what we might find being let go by other clubs.”

There will be up to 4,500 home fans and potentially 2,000 Hibernian supporters at the league opener as restrictions on crowds ease further.

“We felt that impact when they first came through the door and it’s been really positive,” Alexander said.

“We didn’t have a positive night in the cup against our local rival but I suppose we got them used to the trials and tribulations of being a Motherwell supporter really early.

“But hopefully they will see we are creating a team that is dedicated to their job and wants to win games for the supporters and themselves.

“But we need everyone together. That’s the biggest thing in football, in life, I talk about it with my squad all the time, about being together on and off the pitch, and we need the supporters with us as well.

“We can’t do anything separate. Our club is fighting against much bigger clubs week in, week out, and we have to get that togetherness and that rapport between us and the supporters to make sure we are stronger when we come up against those opponents.

“If I know those supporters, from my short time, they will get behind us and give us that support.”

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