Hartley eyes quartet for New Year

Paul Hartley headed to Ochilview after the AGM to run his eye over trialist Sean Welsh and Falkirk's under-20s. Picture Michael Gillen.
Paul Hartley headed to Ochilview after the AGM to run his eye over trialist Sean Welsh and Falkirk's under-20s. Picture Michael Gillen.

Paul Hartley hopes to have FOUR new players in Falkirk’s squad for the New Year derby clash with Dunfermline.

The Bairns boss laid out his squad plans to shareholders at the club’s annual general meeting on Monday, a day after travelling on an English league scouting mission.

It was his second such trip having ventured south with chief executive Craig Campbell and chairman Margaret Lang a week earlier.

And the boss reckons he’s looking at between six and eight new faces in the ranks including the four as soon as the window opens.

He said: “That’s what I’m working towards, January 1 not January 31. I think we need eight new players for the squad.

“There is a long-term plan but we need a short-term fix. I am reknown for developing teams and building squads and teams. I know where I want to take this club.

“I want to watch Falkirk in the Premier League, not the Irn-Bru Cup.

“I know it’s been painful. It’s been a tough six weeks for me, and a tough season for you, the support.

“We just need to give some freshness to the squad but we need quality over quantity. We need better players in January.”

Hartley believes he has an “imbalanced” squad, and highlighted having nine defenders of 23 outfield players proof of the mismatch in the ranks. So to accomodate his new faces he has to send others out – but he insists he has yet to tell players which of them will be moving on.

“We are too big in number. I can’t run with 24 players and keep them all happy – I understand players. I want 18 to 20.

“There will have to be people moved out but I haven’t informed the club yet.”

The Falkirk Herald understands Hartley has been in contact with Swansea but the manager is keen to develop relations south – but not necessarily on a personal level. He added: “We need a scouting system in place. For me to be on the road is difficult.

“But we want to think outside the box, that’s why I have been looking outside Scotland.

“I know the Scottish game, I know just about every Scottish player. I don’t want the usual Scottish players. I’ve got contacts in England and have been looking there.”