GC: Harry, given how last season finished with the run to the Irish Cup final, do you enter this new season with raised expectations?

HMcC: I would feel that we ourselves would have to raise our expectations and we have changed the name of our WhatsApp group from ‘Lets Get Over It’ to ‘Lets Build On It’, I’m under no illusions though of the difficulties that lie ahead. The cup was a nice run and we got to a great stage but I have told the players that we need to start aspiring now to play at a higher level and to do that we need to give our best every training session and every match. Look, I understand people raising their expectations after the end to last season but for me there is always that reality check and we can’t take our foot of the pedal in any way.

GC: In terms of the new season, how have the preparations gone for it?

HMcC: We have had some great games during pre-season. We had the likes of Enniskillen Rangers and Strabane and they were great work outs for us and we also faced some opposition from a higher level in Institute, Warrenpoint and Ballymena where we played some really good football. Davy Jeffrey came to us after that game and said that we passed them off the park so it was disappointing to have lost. Look, the result is not the most important thing about pre-season, it is that I get to see players and we get players minutes on the pitch and we never lost that focus. We have been delighted with the method of our play and you can see that the players have brought on stuff from last year and are starting to get comfortable with some of the patterns of play that we want on the pitch. We are just trying now to add that wee bit more in the final third.

GC: Last season we saw young players like Sean McEvoy, Darragh McBrien and Micheál Glynn making a big impact . Can we expect to see more young players making a mark this season?

HMcC: In pre-season, the likes of Sam Robb and Simon Warrington have put in some great performances while Alex Holder has come to us from Kesh and he looks as if he will be a great midfield player for us in the future although he has been so unlucky with injury and will be out for a couple of months. Game time is so important for these lads and it is about getting the balance right between them playing for the first team and the U20s.

GC: Some of the best business that you did was holding on to the squad from last year when there was interest in key players like Mattie Smyth and Ryan O’Reilly. Did it surprise you that you were able to do that?

HMcC: I think that speaks volumes for how we handled the players last year. I promised the lads last year that if they came back then I would get them lots of game time and get their confidence up and if somebody did come in for them then we would not be standing in their way. Somebody did come for them but I think they saw they could develop further with ourselves and that was the key turning point. They felt that they were improving and gaining confidence and they wanted to give it another year doing that. I’ve no doubt that they will keep improving and that clubs will come back in for them but the lovely thing for us us is that they are committed to playing a big part in building the next phase for us.

GC: In regards of the squad and adding to it over the summer, are you happy with the business that you have done so far?

HMcC: I said all along that once I had got the base of last year’s squad back, I felt that it wasn’t about numbers it was about quality and I’m delighted with what we have done so far. Ryan Morris was with the club before and has Premiership experience as has John Currie who is another former player. They are two players with real quality. Alex Holder is one of the most exciting youngsters in the Fermanagh and Western and young Lee Frazer came in from Mountjoy on a trial basis and quickly impressed. Dean Corrigan is back from Dundee and is finding his feet after a year out but we know that he will come through the more game time he gets.

I’m still looking to add a wee bit more quality at the top end of the pitch, I have irons in the fire and I’ll continue looking until the window shuts on August 31.

GC: Is there times that you cast an envious eye towards other clubs with the players they are able to bring in?

HMcC: No, I don’t look over the garden fence, I simply want us to be the very best we can be. It takes a lot of hard work by many voluntary people to keep this club in existence and we provide fantastic facilities for our players and the community but if we really want to make the big step back into the Premiership - and be in a position to stay in it - then I think we have to explore and examine all areas of potential revenue inside and outside the county.

Our geographical location and density of population in Fermanagh have always added to our challenge but we must not feel sorry for ourselves but instead seek some creative solutions. That takes great energy and commitment but it is the reality and if we stand still and are just happy to survive I believe we will regress.

Yes, Larne last year showed that if you can find a billionaire and he loves the club then you can be successful but what would be gained by us looking enviously at a club like that?

All I would want as a manager is that as a club we have an agreed and clear vision, be it to return to the Premiership or alternatively to consolidate as a good healthy Championship club. Then we, as a united club on and off the pitch, must exhaust every avenue to reach it.

GC: The start of last season was particularly tough after relegation the previous season and the subsequent turnaround of players. How important therefore is getting off to a good start this time around?

HMcC: It is the most obvious thing to say that I don’t want to start like that again but I also don’t want to get hung up on that. Look, we have a home game first up which is pleasing but we are in no doubt that Knockbreda are going to be tough opposition. They beat us here last year and have added a few new signings so they will want to get off to a positive start. We are then away to Dergview on the Tuesday and that will be a huge challenge as Ivan has them going well.

GC: You will obviously be hoping to be among the contenders at the top end of the table come the end of the season but it is a very competitive league and who do you see being the main contenders?

HMcC: There is no question about that the relegated sides Ards and Newry will be up there with the squads and experience that they have while Portadown and Dundela will also be up around there.

I also believe that Dergview will be dark horses this year and hopefully we will be pitching in there too.

GC: So, the new season is just a couple of days away. Is there still that same excitement about it getting underway?

HMcC: The work is now over and you just want to get at it.

There is that excitement about the first game and hopefully we can produce a performance for our supporters.