East Stirlingshire could have at least one new face in their line-up for Sunday’s Ochilview clash with Berwick Rangers as coach John Coughlin searches for a solution to his team’s defensive problems.
Shire have conceded more goals than any other Third Division team this season and the departure of Sean Kelly, who has reached the end of his loan from St Mirren, has done little to ease Coughlin’s concerns.
He has spent much of his time since Saturday’s disappointing 6-2 defeat at the hands of Rangers looking for at least one new central defender and is hoping his efforts will bear early fruits.
“I have received a couple of recommendations and will certainly be pursuing them as far as having a look to see what these players are like,” he said. “If they show promise then we might get one in as a trialist.
“I am not a big fan of using trialists unless I am sure that I know what I am getting but we need to improve at the back and with Sean now back at St. Mirren and Rhys Devlin still a few weeks away from being fit I think we need to act.”
The Shire boss says it is undeniable that his back line is the team’s weakest link and believes Saturday’s result was just the latest in a line of defeats this season where there was no case for the defence.
“We lost four at Dumbarton, five at Annan and now six against Rangers,” he said. “It is frustrating because going forward we look a decent side capable of scoring goals and winning matches. But we simply cannot keep the back door shut and that is costing us.”
He is first to admit that it was his decision to bring in players he now feels may not be up to the task but he is in no mood for excuses and will be as ruthless as is necessary to sort things out and make Shire a better team.
“If there are players who cannot cut it then we will do our best within the budgets set to get others in who can do the job better,” said Coughlin. “I was angry after the Rangers game because in the dressing room before they went out the players looked determined and up for it.
“But once we got out there it was the same old mistakes costing us time and time again. I have seen it too many times and if we can make changes and bring new players in then we will.”
Shire will also be without midfielder Philipp Züfle for the Berwick match after his red card in the Rangers game. He will serve a two match suspension for violent conduct which means he will also be banned for the derby clash “I don’t think we should be surprised at the red card but what we have to do is realise that football is changing and players must adapt better.”