Shire boss Sludden delighted to sign familiar face

East Stirlingshire boss John Sludden has added to his defensive options with Michael  Bolochoweckyj
East Stirlingshire boss John Sludden has added to his defensive options with Michael Bolochoweckyj

East Stirlingshire finally added to their depleted squad this week by signing central defender Michael Bolochoweckyj for the THIRD time.

The veteran centre-half gives coach John Sludden a wealth of experience at the back as Shire seek to revive their Lowland League fortunes.

Bolochoweckyj first joined Shire in 2008 under Jim McInally and notched his place in club history by becoming the last player to score a goal at Firs Park before helping them to two third place finishes in League Two.

He then signed up for a second time under coach John Coughlin and played his part in keeping Shire in League Two when the club was under threat of entering the newly-introduced pyramid play-off.

The club’s current boss has been under pressure to add to his squad this term after losing key players.

And although finding a striker remains an outstanding priority for Sludden, he says that Bolochoweckyj’s experience at the back is invaluable.

“I think we forget how young we are in defence,” said Sludden.

“Connor Greene has been around the club for a few years but he is still very young as is Jordan Tapping.

“Sometimes we have lacked that older, wiser head at the back and that is something Michael will bring. He knows the club and is well-liked by everyone and that helps as well.”

The popular defender had spent months on the sidelines after picking up a bad injury while playing for Montrose in League 2 last season.

But, with the player now fully restored to health, he was ready for a fresh, if somewhat familiar, challenge.

“It’s a move that’s been in the pipeline for weeks,” said the Shire boss.

“But obviously we had to wait for Michael to complete his rehabilitation before we could get the work done.

“Montrose were happy for the deal to go ahead and we are delighted to have Michael back at the club.”

Sludden was both relieved and happy to claim Shire’s first home three points of the season at Ochilview on Sunday after defeating Edusport Academy with a last gasp winner.

And he is now looking for more of the same as they travel to face Civil Service Strollers this weekend.

Shire will be able to welcome back skipper Derek Ure to the squad after suspension forced him to sit out the Edusport victory.

It took a late Jamie McCormack goal to seal the three points against the league newcomers and Sludden says it was a victory for Shire’s persistence.

“It was a very similar sort of match to all the other ones this season at Ochilview,” he said.

“We had a lot of possession but, once again, it was our decision making that let us down. But we kept pressing and got our reward.

“It was great as well to get the win for the supporters who were fantastic and kept on backing the players.”

Shire’s last league visit to Civil Service Strollers, back in September last year, resulted in an extraordinary 8-3 victory.

Sludden, though, is sure to be happy enough simply to settle for any kind of victory, especially after being held to a 2-2 draw by the same opponents at Ochilview in their last meeting back in August.

“We know it will be a difficult game,” said Sludden.

“They proved to be a tough set of opponents last time out and we will expect the same again on Saturday.”