East Stirlingshire boss John Coughlin is wasting no time in taking action to halt his team’s slide to the bottom of the Third Division table.
Just a month after settling on his squad for the campaign Coughlin is hoping to land two new faces in time for Saturday’s derby clash with Stirling Albion at Ochilview.
The Shire coach has identified a central defender and a midfielder both of whom will come to the club on short-term loan deals from teams in higher divisions.
After four games Shire have failed to register a single league point and Coughlin knows that is a state of affairs that has to be sorted soon. This week he moved into action to address the areas on the pitch he sees as being in most need of improvement.
“We have lost so many daft goals already this season,” he said. “We really need to get tougher defensively and get players in who can do the simple things like defend corner kicks and free-kicks better.
“Most of the other teams in our league have got giants at the back. That’s what we need to do as well.”
Coughlin moved on-loan youngster Sean Kelly to centre-back in Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup game against Cowdenbeath and was so impressed with the teenager’s efforts he is now trying to extend his stay at the club.
“I thought Sean was easily our best player on Sunday. He attacked the ball well in defence and scored a great goal at the other end from a set play. Sean’s loan from St Mirren runs out after the Stirling Albion game but we want to keep him here and see if we can get more of that kind of performance out of him.”
If he also gets a central defender to play alongside Kelly then it will be a case of so much the better for Coughlin. He has a player lined up and is now waiting on approval from the board to make a move.
“I am confident we will get the player,” he said. “We’ve had good reports of him and he has already played first team football for his club this season. It is important that we improve as much as we can within the financial limits we have been set.
“If we don’t there is a real danger we could be left behind like we were last term and that is something we want to avoid at all costs.”
Coughlin will not stop with the addition of a new defender and also wants to sign a young midfield player with SPL experience. Again, finance will dictate whether the move will go ahead but Coughlin is keen to bring in additional quality in a key area.
“When you look at some of our performances this season our passing has let us down and we clearly need a player with a bit better ability in that area than those who are here already have been able to demonstrate.”
Stirling Albion got their league campaign off to a great start on the opening day with a 5-1 win over Annan Athletic, but have lost every game since then.
Albion have suffered a number of injury problems which means there will be no chance for Bradley Coyne to get one over on Shire, a club he helped with some crucial goals while on loan from St. Mirren last season.
That said, Coughlin is taking nothing for granted, although he was encouraged by Sunday’s narrow defeat at the hands of First Division Cowdenbeath in the quarter-final of the Ramsdens Cup.
“We played well and I thought we were extremely unlucky to lose,” he said. “Up until now we have reserved our good performances for the cup games and we have given a good account of ourselves against good quality opposition.
“But we have now reached the stage where we cannot afford any more flat performances and we must get our act together in the league,” he said.