Jim McInally reckons transfer-listing Shane Sutherland is the best way forward for both Peterhead and the player.
Sutherland has a year left on his contract but has been put up for sale by the club, after January interest from Caley Thistle turned his head towards full-time football.
The day after Sutherland had signed for Peterhead, the player was notified that Caley Thistle were interested in signing him. McInally subsequently phoned Inverness boss John Robertson, who apologised as he had not realised Sutherland’s deal with the Blue Toon was done.
The Caley Jags had tried to persuade Peterhead to sell him, offering the same fee they paid for his services from Elgin, but McInally was reluctant to sell given Russell McLean’s departure to Montrose.
Sutherland’s name was circulated late on Thursday to potential suitors, with Peterhead now awaiting responses.
McInally said: “After speaking to him on Thursday, he was disappointed with how he played and moving on is the best way ahead. We’re at a stage where it’s better just calling it a day.
“It was a big decision as we would have an unhappy player on our hands but we felt, at the time, we had to dig out heels in. It turned out to be the right decision as we lost Derek Lyle not long afterwards.
“But now is the time to call it a day and hopefully he gets a new club.”
Sutherland will likely not be part of the Blue Toon’s squad in League 1, as McInally ploughs on with his squad building for the season ahead. Greg Fleming, Rory McAllister, Simon Ferry and Willie Gibson are under contract, while Jamie Stevenson, Aaron Norris and backup goalkeeper Sam Henderson have committed to staying this week.
Agreements are close with defenders Mick Dunlop and Jason Brown, while Cammy Eadie, Ross Willox and Liam Macdonald have been offered new terms. Callum Home and Paul Willis have been told they can speak to other clubs but if no offers are forthcoming, Peterhead will be happy to talk about re-signing them.
The door has been left open to Scott Brown and Jack Leitch, who are both entertaining interest from Dunfermline. Brown spoke to the Pars before going on holiday and they are also believed to be keen on Leitch, who racked up double-figures in goals last season.
McInally added: “Sctt was going to see if they came back to him and then if they hadn’t offered him a contract, he would make a decision. Jack is the same. There’s not a lot we can do – it’s there option and we just need to be there if nothing happens.”