During Kris Lindsay’s decorated Irish League playing career he shared the common viewpoint of pre-season as “a necessary evil”, writes Patrick Van Dort.
As an Irish League manager, however, Lindsay cites his first full summer schedule with Dungannon Swifts as a fundamental foundation for future challenges.
The transition from Glenavon coach to the Swifts’ number one last September offered Lindsay a top-flight first taste of life in the management hot seat.
Those experiences across last season helped to shape his gameplan for the current campaign.
“Pre-season has gone relatively well, with improvements game-on-game heading into our first league match with Ballymena United,” said Lindsay. “After so much hard work I think everyone is just keen to start the competitive season.
“We have Ballymena at home and you always want to make the most of playing on your own patch.
“When playing you appreciated the value of pre-season but it was a necessary evil really, now coming into this summer as my first with the Swifts, I had a much cleared picture of how we hope to move forward.
“You are always learning and developing but since I arrived there’s been clear progress from the players in understanding how myself and the coaching team want us all to work.”
Lindsay’s drive as a player secured a string of silverware and he maintains the same hunger to achieve from the other side of the white line.
“We move forward together and Dungannon is a great club for a young manager given the support from the chairman and the realistic expectations,” said Lindsay. “However, just because it is a club with a family feel does not mean we want to sit still and stagnate.
“We know this is a difficult league, probably this season more than ever, but simply staying in the Premiership is not my goal.
“I’m demanding progress and our efforts week in, week out come down to setting standards but then breaking those same standards.
“You have got to aim high towards trying to improve so we immediately target an improvement on last season’s points tally.
“It comes down to gradual steps but a clear focus towards pushing forward and always striving for better.”