Games in the balance

East Stirlingshire v Inverurie Locos. Pic: Craig Halkett
East Stirlingshire v Inverurie Locos. Pic: Craig Halkett

Craig Tully’s build-up to the new season suffered a setback with news that Shire’s summer signing David Niven may miss the start of the competitive matches.

The former Elgin City captain has been finding it hard to get time off his day job and that may impact on his availability for the forthcoming early season cup matches against Falkirk and Ayr United.

Niven will not be in the squad for this weekend’s final warm-up game against League Two champions Peterhead at Grangemouth Stadium, which, with other experienced players also absent, will affect the build-up to the Falkirk match on July 26.

“We always know that players are going to go off on holiday during the pre-season,” said Shire secretary, Tadek Kopszywa. “That’s just part of the game at our level. But David’s issues have been around getting time off to come to training and play in matches.

“It’s a situation we will keep watching but it is disappointing that he may not be able to take part in what is a quite exciting start to the season.” Tully’s options for the Peterhead game will be further limited by holidaying players with David Greenhill, Paul McMullan and Chris Townsley all away and injury will most likely rule out Neil McCabe and Jamie Glasgow, who took a sore one during Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Inverurie Locos.

Once again Shire will look to their younger players to pick up any slack and they did not disappoint last weekend with impressive performances before tiring late on in the draw.

Shire’s experiment in playing ‘home’ pre-season matches for the first time since leaving Firs Park has got off to an encouraging start said the club secretary.

“The Inverurie game was financially viable and we were encouraged by the number of people who turned up,” he said. “But we would like to see as many people as possible come along on Saturday.

Entry is £6 and £3 to the match at 3 p.m.