East Stirlingshire fans are being told ‘don’t panic’ over the club’s lack of summer signings.
Coach Craig Tully’s sole summer purchases amount to central defender Reece Donaldson and mifielder Kris Faulds, along with 12 of the squad who finished the last campaign.
We have been asking around about young strikers who are with clubs in the top division with a view to taking one on loanShire boss Craig Tully
But the Shire gaffer says he’s keeping his eye open for players who will improve the quality, rather than the bulk, of his squad for the season ahead.
“I think we will get by with a smaller squad this season,” he said. “And what we should be doing is looking to bring in guys who are going to improve us as a team. We don’t necessarily need to bring in a lot of new faces, but rather should be looking to one or two who will set a higher standard.”
Tully has so far been delighted with his two new summer acquisitions. Donaldson has been a stand out in the two pre-season games he has featured in so far, while Faulds impressed in his only display so far, Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Forfar Athletic.
“They are going to be important players for us and I think you can see that already they have added a different dimension to a couple of key positions. I know we are maybe lacking two or three and what I’m looking for are guys in a similar mode who are going to be an improvement on what we had last season.”
There is one position Tully is desperate to find someone to fill. He needs a penalty box finisher and is not afraid to admit it.
“We need one, maybe two strikers,” he said. “I think you can see in the couple of games we have played so far that we have created scoring chances but haven’t really had anyone to put them away. And that’s the difference which could transform our season.”
Tully admits it’s now unlikely that Partick Thistle’s Kevin Nisbet will return to the club after his scoring exploits with Shire last season, but he reckons he might be able to fill the problem position with a player in a similar vein.
“We have been asking around about young strikers who are with clubs in the top division with a view to taking one on loan,” said the Shire boss. “We are hopeful that could have a positive outcome before the start of the season next weekend.”
In the meantime, Tully will run the rule over more trialists in two final pre-season friendlies before the curtain rises on the 2015/16 season with the Petrofac Training Cup first round match against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.
On Saturday they will take on Highland League Formartine United in a game at Stirling University (kick-off 3:00pm) and on Wednesday Shire will travel to Lowland League champions Edinburgh city.
“These will be tough tests for us but that’s what I want them to be,” he said. “We need to stretch the players as much as possible and learn what we need to find out about the guys who are here on trial. There is no doubt these matches will do that.”
Shire look as though they may have lost midfielder Ross Gilmour with a broken foot after Tuesday’s Stirlingshire Cup match against Stenhousemuir, but they will have Max Wright back from holiday while Neil McCabe has overcome a strain and will be fit for the weekend encounter.