New East Stirlingshire coach Craig Tully is making an experienced goalkeeper the top priority as he seeks to re-build the club for next season.
Neither of last season’s keepers, Grant Hay or Craig Gordon, are staying with the club and Tully has already had positive discussions with a keeper who could be Shire’s number one for next term.
The new boss has wasted little time in getting down to business after taking over from the departed John Coughlin and has already made the hard decisions about who will be offered new deals.
Current Shire skipper Kevin Turner is one of those asked to stay on for what would be a fourth season if he accepts a new deal.
Nathan Shepherd, who was only just coming back to his best towards the end of the campaign after a long recovery from ACL surgery, is another on Tully’s list. Jamie Glasgow, the only survivor at the club from the Jim McInally era, David Greenhill, Graeme MacGregor, Scott Maxwell and Max Wright are the others pondering offers.
“Craig is already starting to make his mark even before he has officially taken over,” said Shire chairman Tony Ford. “He is very forthright about the areas of the squad that he feels we need to improve and has wasted no time in trying to address that.
“It is always the most difficult of tasks to sit down with players and tell them that there will not be a new contract for them. We know how much effort each has put in.
“Over and above that there is the human element because the guys being let go are all great people and that is often the hardest part. Nevertheless, Craig knows his mind and is clear-sighted about what he wants,” said the chairman.
Tully has also confirmed his backroom team who will assist with the hard task of trying to improve Shire’s fortunes. Former Dundee striker George Shaw will be his new number two. John Allison, who has a string of senior clubs to his name as a player will be joining in a coaching capacity too.
“It’s very much a case of ‘The King is Dead, Long Live The King’,” said Ford. “We had John Coughlin for three years and we grew used to his way of working and that of his coaching staff. Now we have a new coaching team with their own ideas who will do things in their own way.
“Being head coach at our club must seem to people like the most thankless task in senior football. However you have to admire the sheer enthusiasm of the new coaching team.”