Shire out to cut gap at the bottom

Craig Winter has returned to Cowdenbeath
Craig Winter has returned to Cowdenbeath
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East Stirlingshire boss John Coughlin is on a player search in a bid to strengthen his squad while the transfer window is still open.

Coughlin, who has lost the services of four players in the last week and was down to the bare bones for Monday’s 3-1 New Year derby defeat against Alloa Athletic, needs to get numbers back up.

His most urgent concern is in defence. The loan agreement that would have seen experienced Cowdenbeath centre-half Craig Winter stay with Shire until the end of January has fallen through, with the 35-year-old re-called to Central Park because of an injury crisis there.

In addition, Nico Gibson has been released, Ally Love has stalled on the offer of a new contract and Joe Savage has been granted a sabbatical from the club.

Coughlin will also be facing a decision soon on striker Bradley Coyne. The on-loan St Mirren man is Shire’s leading scorer this season but tomorrow’s match at Elgin City will be his last for the club under the emergency loan system that allows a player to remain at a club only for a maximum of three months.

The Shire boss is still keen to see whether or not it could be extended, ideally, to allow the player to remain on loan until the end of the season.

Peterhead’s victory on Monday over this weekend’s opponents has made Shire look slightly isolated at the foot of the league table and Coughlin knows the only way to do anything about that is to start winning games.

“Elgin are a decent side,” he said. “But we should have beaten them at Ochilview when we last played them and it’s certainly a game we are capable of taking something from.”