East Stirlingshire could welcome some more fresh faces to the squad in time for their vital game against Elgin City a week on Saturday despite the closing of the winter transfer window on Monday.
Coach Craig Tully has not given up the search for players and is currently trailing some free agents who, under the complex rulings, are still allowed to sign outwith the official transfer period.
The Shire boss clearly feels he needs to do something after a run of poor results which have sent his team back to the bottom of the league. Shire recovered the last time they hit rock bottom at the start of November but after a run of seven points from nine they have struggled for results.
“We have sat down and identified the areas in the team where we need to make a difference,” said Tully. “The financial position at the club means we know we can’t go out and use the window to pay transfer fees but we can still do business with players who are free agents.
“Michael Wallace has come in and I think he has got better with every game and we have had a look at a couple of trialists too. We are also talking to other players who would be in a position to sign.”
But Tully knows that any deals would depend on his club’s board allowing him to add to the wage bill given that the only player to exit the club during January was Paul McMullen.
He says those discussions are still ongoing but he is hopeful of getting a positive response. “We are working really hard to try and make things better.
David Bates and Luke Donnelly have come in on loan and have helped improve the quality and Michael Wallace has given us a different option up front.
“The frustrating thing about the position in which we find ourselves is that we are not far away. In every game we have lost recently there were opportunities to win; we are really close to being a good, competitive side in this league but just have not got the breaks.”
Injuries have played an important part in that run of bad luck. Tully says, however, that both Nathan Shepherd and on-loan Celtic midfielder Donnelly are not too far away.
“Luke’s injury was one that just needed rest to heal and he might be back with us in a couple of weeks,” he said. “Nathan has been really unfortunate but he is on course to be back in the team before the end of the season. He’s scheduled to see the surgeon in the next few weeks for a tidy-up operation on his knee and it hopefully won’t be too long before he returns.”
Tully remains upbeat about pulling the club away from their current position. He knows there is added pressure because of the addition this year of the pyramid play-off but won’t be giving in to that.
“We all know about the play-off and we also know that most people this season would have been predicting that we would be in it,” he said.
“But that just makes us more determined. We have a good squad of players and we haven’t been carrying the luck in terms of performances being better than results and in terms on injuries to key players, but we remain optimistic,” he said.