Shire need more time

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John Coughlin is still trying to work out what his best East Stirlingshire team is because he can’t get enough games to see all his players in action.

On the eve of Shire’s league opener at home to Montrose this weekend the club’s coach says some key players lack game time, which is a worry given centre-half Ryan Frances will have to sit out this weekend’s game due to suspension.

“We will have to look at bringing in Stuart Beveridge to the team but he has hardly played any matches, so it is not an ideal situation,” he said. “The shortage of match practice is a worry.

“I tried hard to arrange friendly matches and bounce games last week but could not find any opposition.

“Some players, like Joe Savage and Jordyn Sheerin, really need these games not only to get match fit but to allow me to decide what our best team is. I still have not been able to decide what our best striking combination might be.”

Despite this, Coughlin says he has still learned a lot from the two cup matches against Dumbarton and Ayr United.

The cup games were a phoney war for Coughlin. He knows his team was on a hiding to nothing against clubs from higher divisions and that they were simply extra preparation for the start of the league campaign.

“The league is the most important thing - that is where we are judged.

“A lot of people say we are going to struggle and there is very little expectation, which may be a good thing.

“One thing I do know is that we have a good bunch of players who I think are well capable of being competitive in this division.

“Quite obviously we do not have the resources to compete for titles and there are some clubs spending really big sums of money.

“We are not in that category but we will certainly be giving it everything we have.”

Montrose include former Shire favourites Michael Andrews and Scott Johnston.