Rodgers return is welcome news for Sludden’s struggling side

Andy Rodgers should make a return
Andy Rodgers should make a return

East Stirlingshire could welcome back two vital members of their squad for Saturday’s Lowland League visit to Selkirk.

Striker Andy Rodgers and utility man Jamie McCormack could come back into contention after suspensions for the trip to Yarrow Park, and not before time for coach John Sludden.

Andy Rodgers.

Andy Rodgers.

But his inability to bring in fresh faces, allied to injuries and suspensions to key players, meant he was down to the bare bones last Saturday against Gretna at Ochilview with Chris McLaughlin given a league debut and Adam Murray thrust into his first start of the season. It’s up front, though, where Shire are experiencing their biggest problems.

The decision of strikers David Grant and Kevin Kelbie to leave the club for personal reasons has left a big hole. Saturday’s defeat was not the first time this term that Shire have dominated proceedings only to be let down by the lack of a finishing touch.

Sludden is continuing to persevere in his search for new players and he may well have one addition in time for Saturday’s trip.

But the inclusion of Rodgers could have the biggest impact of all. The lack of the former Falkirk man’s guile and experience was all too evident against Gretna where Shire struggled to put the visitors’ stand-in keeper under much pressure despite having a gale force wind at their backs.

The trip to Selkirk this weekend is an indicator of how much the Lowland League itself has changed in just a year.

Twelve months ago Shire were flying high and stuck five past Selkirk with ease at Ochilview at a time when the Borders outfit were struggling at the bottom of the table.

Shire will want to win not only to improve their flagging league fortunes, they currently sit exactly on the halfway point on the league ladder, but also to avenge the 7-4 defeat they suffered the last time they visited Yarrow Park on league business in September 2016.