Cup win could boost hopes for Shire in league

John Sludden
John Sludden

John Sludden will keep looking to add to his East Stirlingshire squad ahead of this weekend’s return to Lowland League action against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview on Saturday.

The Shire boss is first to admit finding replacements for some surprise departures has not been an easy process but he will continue to work hard to strengthen his playing squad.

The club’s been left seriously short of firepower after the unexpected loss of strikers David Grant and Kevin Kelbie, and while the manager’s son, Paul, has stepped up his scoring rate, the overall squad is still light on numbers. That’s been further exposed by injuries to key players like Kris Faulds and recent suspensions for Andy Rodgers and Jamie McCormack had not helped either.

“It’s still ongoing,” said Sludden of his pursuit of additional bodies. “It’s a frustrating process but we are putting in plenty of effort to bring new players in.”

One player who has recently been re-introduced is Adam Murray. The full-back signed up late for his third season with Shire after spending a number of months working in the United States. He made his first appearance of the season in the 3-1 win at Netherdale on Saturday, an extra-time cup victory that Sludden put down to dogged determination.

“We just kept plugging away,” he said. “One thing you can never do is fault the players for effort and hard work and we got our reward for that in the end,” he said.

Shire’s reward for the cup win is a third round match against Lowland League leaders BSC Glasgow which is scheduled to go ahead at The Recs in Alloa on November 11.

Of more immediate concern will be this weekend’s clash with Gretna at Ochilview, a game which marks Shire’s welcome return home after four weeks on the road.

“I hope the cup win will give us the confidence boost we need,” said the Shire boss.