New East Stirlingshire boss John Coughlin says he is ready to roll his sleeves up again at Ochilview.
The appointment of Coughlin - an ex-Stenhousemuir manager - came as a surprise to many given his association with Shire’s rivals and landlords, but he says his sole focus is to get to work steering his new club as high up the Third Division table as possible.
He has been set tough financial constraints to work with by the club’s board, but he is adamant that will not stop him doing his best to improve Shire’s lot.
“The number one thing for me is getting another chance to work in senior football,” said Coughlin, who has been out of the game since parting ways with the Warriors in December. “There are 42 senior clubs in Scotland and about a hundred times that number of managers looking to get a job at one of them.
“So when you get the chance you have to consider it seriously. I am fully aware of the budget constraints, but that does not put me off.”
“I know there has been plenty written and said about not having a lot of money to spend,” he added. “But I would much rather concentrate on the positive aspects.”
Coughlin has already started looking around to see where he might build a squad from. Of last season’s players only goalkeeper Gavin Sorley, midfielder Ryan Wilkie and striker Fraser Team have indicated they are willing to sign for the coming season, with the others choosing to look elsewhere.
The new coach says he expects he will have to play a waiting game. “I don’t think there will be too many willing to commit right now,” he said. “What you have at the moment is a lot of players looking round for the right deal. But there are so many players looking for clubs that getting a squad together should not be too much of a problem, although I know I will have to bide my time to get them in.”
Coughlin looks likely to appoint his old Ochilview back room team to help lighten the load. “People like my assistant, Matt Kerr, have been everywhere with me and I would like to be able to bring him in along with the other coaches I had at Stenhousemuir.
“They all have good experience and a lot of contacts in the game and that will only help us go forward.”
Coughlin was preparing for a lukewarm reception from Shire fans who have not forgotten that his Ochilview side pipped Shire in the promotion play-offs two years ago.
“I am not one for going onto the internet forums to see what fans think of things,” he said.
“But one of the first questions I did ask the directors was about how the club’s supporters would take to me, given that I was in charge at Stenhousemuir so recently.
“They offered me a lot of re-assurance on that and I hope the response will be favourable.
“For my part, when I was at Stenhousemuir and we played the Shire, I always thought their fans were brilliant. They were passionate, they made plenty of noise and they got right behind the team whether things were going for them or against them.”
Although Coughlin has only been in his new job a matter of days, he is already planning a way forward.
“I have been on the phone to a few players I know asking whether they want to come here for next season,” he said. “It will be a lot of hard work but we have to be positive.
“One thing that does excite me is trying to put together a team capable of competing at this level. It will be a lot of hard work but I am a man for getting the sleeves rolled up and working hard and that is one thing people will get from me,” he said.