John Coughlin has started his re-building process at East Stirlingshire by signing four of last season’s squad.
David Greenhill, Michael Herd, Scott Maxwell and Ricky Miller have all put pen to paper on deals that will keep them at the Bainsford club until the end of the 2013/14 season. They added Nathan Shepherd who has already a year remaining on his deal, and two of the award recipients at last week’s end of season bash – skipper and Linda Stewart Memorial trophy winner Kevin Turner, and the supporters’ ‘spectator of the year’ Rhys Devlin.
Strikers Jamie Glasgow and Paul Quinn, full-back Steven Jackson and keepers Grant Hay and Craig Gordon have all been offered new deals as part of Coughlin’s plans to re-structure the club and transform its on-the-field fortunes.
The Shire coach has also plans to bring in at least six new faces and has shaken hands on deals with three of them which will be completed once they are released from their contracts with their current clubs.
The priority for Coughlin is to re-build a defence that leaked goals last season and which undermined any chances of climbing the league table.
“It was obvious we needed to strengthen at the back as that is where our real problems lay,” he said. “Going forward and in midfield I thought we were as good as any other team in the league but at the back we lost too many terrible goals.”
Not surprisingly, he is targeting experienced defenders and will sit down to talk to two central defenders this week with a view to getting them to come to the club. But, he admits, there are no guarantees and accepts it will come down to money.
“I have enough money in the budget this year that at least interests this kind of player to come and talk to me,” he said. “But that does not necessarily mean they will come. That said, I am hopeful they will sign and if they do it will give everyone a massive boost.”
Coughlin has concluded deals in principle with an experienced left-back and two midfield players and is excited at the prospect of bringing in signings who he believes will improve Shire’s fortunes.
“We will be revealing details once we have concluded all the paperwork, but these guys would have been beyond our reach financially in the past two seasons, that shows how far we have come in recent years.”