Craig Tully will not wait long to deliver a ‘shape up or ship out’ message to members of his squad if they are not able to halt an alarming slump in form which has left East Stirlingshire bottom of League Two following another disappointing week.
The rookie gaffer has taken a ‘softly-softly’ approach to man management in his first few months in charge but is now about to contemplate serious change if things don’t get any better.
Tully has been at pains to explain his team’s failure to move forward despite a reasonably bright start to the campaign on injuries to key players and suspensions, but with now what amounts to a full squad to choose from he says from this point on it’s down to the players to prove themselves.
“We’ve had our problems with injuries,” he said. “ Now that’s changed and there are fewer excuses and people need to start delivering.”
Tully has already hinted that he will not baulk at bringing in alternatives if he feels that’s what is required. The addition of on-loan Celtic youngster Luke Donnelly is proof and the Shire coach says he may not be the last arrival.
“People can’t get into a comfort zone where they think their place in the team is guaranteed,” he said. “They need to know there will be competition for places.
“The younger players in our under-20s have done really well and they need to start showing they can put pressure on as well. Andy Kay has already done that and has been promoted to the first team on merit, but we need everyone on their toes.”
The Shire boss will be able again to include Max Wright and Nathan Shepherd for the short trip to Clyde on Saturday. Both came off the bench last weekend for their first appearances since September and they started a midweek Development League game at Stirling Albion.
One player who will not feature at Broadwood is Steven Brisbane who will have to serve a one game ban following his sending-off against Berwick Rangers last weekend. Tully says the former Falkirk midfielder was unfortunate.
“When you think about it he’s maybe the last player in the team you’d think would get himself sent-off,” said the Shire coach. “I felt the dismissal was harsh as he clearly won the ball in the tackle.
“Afterwards the referee said it was reckless but it looked completely fair to everyone watching. We have been trying to get Steven to add that bit more aggression to his game and we just hope that it doesn’t now put him off.”