Shire to add final touches to squad for new season

Pic Michael Gillen 20/11/10. STENHOUSEMUIR, Ochilview, Scottish Cup third round. Stenhousemuir v Threave Rovers. Iain Thomson (8).
Pic Michael Gillen 20/11/10. STENHOUSEMUIR, Ochilview, Scottish Cup third round. Stenhousemuir v Threave Rovers. Iain Thomson (8).

East Stirlingshire should have completed their 17 man first-team squad for the 2013/14 season by the start of next week.

John Coughlin expects a flurry of signings today and over the weekend.

The Third Division’s bottom side for the past two seasons set down a statement of intent earlier in the week when they announced the signing of central defender Michael Bolochoweckyj from Second Division Forfar Athletic and brought in former Stenhousemuir midfielder Iain Thomson and Ross O’Donoghue from Elgin City.

The new faces will not end there as Shire aim to throw off the tag of Scotland’s bottom dogs. A number of the club’s squad from last term will also put pen to paper on new deals by the weekend.

“I hope some eyebrows will be raised by the signings we have already announced and by the ones we are preparing to reveal,” said Shire chairman Tony Ford.

“We have given John Coughlin a bigger budget and we trust him to spend it wisely. The club needs something to smile about after a couple of years where restructuring the business has taken precedence over results on the pitch and we hope to deliver.

“But we are not breaking the bank to do it and financial sustainability remains our guiding principle. We are determined the club makes progress away from the bottom of the league but that will be at a pace we can afford. We want to achieve things but we also want to make sure the club is still around for future generations to enjoy,” said Ford.

The signing of Bolochoweckyj in particular has put a spring in the step of Shire fans this week. The imposing centre-half is regarded as a hero by the back-and-white faithful after spending more than two seasons with the club before leaving for Station Park in 2010.

“He was Jim McInally’s first signing when he arrived as coach and there are many who believe that bringing Bolo to the club was the biggest single factor in helping the club avoid a sixth successive last place finish in 2008,” said the Shire chairman.

“He was then a big part of the success we enjoyed over the next two seasons when Shire reached the promotion play-offs two seasons running. So it is little surprise that our supporters have been so excited by his return.”

Coughlin’s choice of new faces shows a desire to put experience at the heart of the team. Thomson joins after spending the last four seasons at Stenhousemuir, wand the Shire coach has long been an admirer of his abilities and those of O’Donoghue who at 30 is just a year younger than the experienced Thomson.

“Circumstances have forced us to go with some very young squads over the past couple of years,” said Ford. “Now we have the resources available to us to bring in some wiser heads to help.”