If there is a roadmap to help East Stirlingshire reach the leading pack in the Lowland League title race coach John Sludden won’t be consulting it any time soon.
Back-to- back victories in their last two games have propelled Shire to within touching distance of the ‘best of the rest’ fourth place position but with still some ground to make up on the leading trio of BSC Glasgow, East Kilbride and Spartans.
While Shire fans still hope the gap can be eaten up, and they will be optimistic after the team followed their first home league victory of the season with Saturday’s 3-1 win away at Civil Service Strollers, the club’s head coach is more circumspect.
“It was good to win two in a row but we are not looking any further ahead than the next match,” he said. “The league is tight and we have done well but we will be sticking to the old cliché of taking one game at a time. We are not getting ahead of ourselves and we know the only important game is the next one.”
For Shire that next league clash won’t be until a week on Saturday but it will be a crucial one as they make the short trip over the Forth to face the league leaders at Alloa.
Shire have played BSC Glasgow twice already this season and have lost both; a season opener at Ochilview when they went down 3-1 and only a few weeks ago they travelled to The Recs in the South Challenge Cup but bowed out of the competition 2-1.
“I don’t think there was any doubt that the better team won the first game back in July,” said Sludden. “But when we went to Alloa there was nothing much between the teams. BSC have had a great start to the season and they are top of the table on merit but we want to go there and win the game.”
Shire will fill the gap in the fixture schedule with a closed-door friendly. The game should give Sludden the opportunity to re-introduce Kris Faulds to some action. The former Falkirk and Stenhousemuir midfielder has been out through injury for a number of weeks and is in need of game time.
The coach could certainly do with another fit and available player to choose from for the visit to the league leaders next weekend.
There is no doubt in the mind of the coach that it’s injuries like the one to Faulds, and also suspensions, which have seen Shire underperform in the eyes of many over the early part of the season.
“The major problem has been so many suspensions and some injuries too,” said Sludden. “But they are clearing up now and that’s great because it provides some competition for places.
“With Michael Bolochoweckyj coming on board that’s helped out at the back in terms of experience and the players are fitting into roles.”