No recruitment drive in Shire boss Sludden’s plan

John Sludden
John Sludden

John Sludden says he is in no rush to replace two key members of his East Stirlingshire squad who’ll be absent when the team faces Hawick Royal Albert in their latest Lowland League outing at Ochilview on Saturday.

Last week defender Ross Fisher left the club after a change of job left him unable to play every Saturday.

Just two days later Sludden’s other defensive mainstay, the veteran Scot Buist, was injured in the weekend 5-2 victory over Whitehill Welfare.

But despite losing two first choice players from his starting eleven Sludden will not be looking immediately to bring in replacements and will instead fill the gaps from within.

The Shire boss was full of praise for Andy Grant and Connor Greene who were forced into a partnership of necessity last weekend, and that’s likely to continue on Saturday.

“They did very well as a partnership in the second half on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t have any problem going with that again on Saturday. People say they might not be the tallest but they played against a team who played a lot of long balls and they still won their fair share of headers for us.”

Nevertheless, Sludden would still have preferred to have Fisher and Buist at his disposal. It’s uncertain how long Buist will have to sit on the sidelines but at least he still is available to return. The same isn’t true of Fisher, who was hailed as one of Shire’s major summer signings, but who is now gone for good.

“e will have Buist looked at but it may be two or three weeks,” he said.

“We are disappointed with Ross’s situation but we do understand his work situation. He goes with our best wishes and we would like to thank him for his efforts over the first month of the season.”

Although Sludden may opt for no change in the short-term that doesn’t mean he is closing the book on signing any more new players. With Fisher’s departure and Buist’s injury it only leaves him with 18 signed players which includes Andy Rodgers, whose loan deal from Peterhead expires at the end of the month.

In anyone’s eyes that is short on back-up and Sludden is only too well aware of that. However, he says any more fresh faces will not be rushed.

“We have always been on the lookout,” he said. “We are have been discussing with other managers the availability of players but they have to be right players.

“It has to be someone with the right mentality who’s going to be good in the dressing room. So we will look into all of those things before we rush into anything. We have cover with the boys who are there so it’s not a desperate situation.”

All of which means it’s likely the same personnel will be asked to deliver more of the same, especially the same kind of performance Shire served up in the last 20 minutes at Whitehill Welfare.

The game had been tight until Shire scored to make it 3-2 and after that the overwhelmed their opponents. Sludden wants them to carry on from where they left off right from the start against Hawick at Ochilview on Saturday.

“It’s a home game so we will look to take the game to them,” he said. “We will look to play a little bit differently from last Saturday where we made ourselves more compact at first and we hope to carry on from the last 30 minutes of last week’s game.”