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Peterhead: Davie Nicholls keen not to dish out deals just to fill the squad

Peterhead assistant manager Davie Nicholls.
Peterhead assistant manager Davie Nicholls

Peterhead assistant manager Davie Nicholls insists the club will not be rushed into making signings just to fill out the squad.

The Blue Toon included six trialists in their squad for last weekend’s pre-season tournament in Elgin and Nicholls says they may have to be patient to bring in new recruits.

Six players have joined the Balmoor rebuild so far, with two of them – Ryan Strachan and Ryan Dow – having pulled on the blue shirt previously.

Robbie McGale, Conor O’Keefe, Paul Dixon and Danny Strachan have also signed up for the coming season as the Peterhead management team oversee another significant overhaul of the squad.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally has previously expressed his frustration at the lack of available recruits and Nicholls says they cannot afford to just hand out contracts to any player who comes across their path.

“It’s a difficult league this year and for us to be competitive we need to get a standard of player that’s ready to come in and play,” said Nicholls. “We’ve not got time for people to come in and be on a bench.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally
Peterhead manager Jim McInally

“We need to have 16 starters, which brings its own pressures.

“Patience is key just now. We could go out and sign boys willy-nilly, but that’s not we want to do. We want to improve.

“We’re a young team and every player that comes in needs to be ready take a first-team berth. If they’re not ready, there’s no point us signing boys.

“When we played Airdrie at the end of the season, I think there’s eight boys from that team who are not there anymore. It’s difficult to replace the boys we’ve lost unless you’ve got a blank chequebook.

“We can only give boys opportunities. We did that last weekend at Elgin and it didn’t happen for the boys. I’m sorry, but unfortunately that’s football.”

Nicholls believes the Blue Toon have proven themselves as a good platform for players who have aspirations of going back full-time, if moves have not materialised for them so far.

“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of business getting done in our league just now,” added Nicholls. “The closer it gets to game-time, the cup and league starting, guys who had aspirations of going full-time might see Peterhead as a good option.

“If you look at the likes of Grant Savoury and Scott Brown this year, they’re good players and they’ve shown up well at Peterhead. We’ve not stood in anybody’s way as a football club.”

Peterhead captain Scott Brown takes aim
Former Peterhead captain Scott Brown

A further raft of trialists will be included in the side for this weekend’s friendly against Dundee at Balmoor.

The club relied heavily on loan signings last year to bolster the squad, but Nicholls believes they will look to avoid the same this year.

“To be perfectly honest, I think that will be a last resort,” he said. “These teams can pull these players back at any moment in time and dictate to you when they’re coming and not coming.

“You can set out a plan for a game or a training session and the player might be training during the day with his own team. If he’s doing that then there’s no point putting him through a double-session, as all you’re going to do is risk injury. That’s the constraints that are on you.

“We’re long enough in the tooth to know things will happen quickly over the next few weeks.”

Peterhead: Ryan Dow happy to make switch to part-time football

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