Peterhead boss Jim McInally has laid bare his frustrations at the shortage of players in his squad ahead of next weekend’s game with Aberdeen.
The Blue Toon were beaten 4-0 in their final game of pre-season against Dundee on Saturday, but it wasn’t the score which concerned him, but rather the number of players he has signed to the club.
At the end of the 2021-2022 campaign, 13 players departed Peterhead and, despite six new signings, McInally’s side is still depleted.
And with Andy McCarthy coming off injured in the second-half against the Dee, the Peterhead boss is another man down.
It has left McInally with an even bigger headache ahead of their Premier Sports Cup game against Aberdeen on Sunday.
McInally explained: “I’m not bothered about the result (against Dundee) and, as far as performances go, it was okay.
“The problem we’ve got is we’re short of bodies and it’s looking we’ll be even shorter after today, which is disappointing.
“We’ve got a decent core of players, but next week we’ve got Jason Brown suspended, Russell McLean is needing an operation, Ryan Strachan is coming back from an operation and now Andy could be out for a wee while – so we’re short of bodies.
“We need to be careful with it and not just sign players for the sake of signing players to fulfil a fixture.
“Not being allowed trialists in the league cup – it could be quite a funny one when there’s only one substitute on the bench for a game live on the telly.”
Adding to the squad is proving difficult ahead of first competitive Dons meeting in a century
In the 4-0 defeat against Dundee, McInally had six trialists in his squad – including two goalkeepers and four outfield players, but wasn’t left overly impressed by any of those handed chances.
He might have used them against Aberdeen to help make up the numbers – if trialists were allowed – but reiterated he won’t be signing players for the sake of it.
McInally said: “I didn’t see enough, really, to warrant taking anybody on. I think the goalkeeper did okay and didn’t really have that much to do.
“We just need to see what the week brings us and see if we can put a team together.
“It’s just a bit embarrassing really – it’s one where we’ve got a league campaign coming up and we just have to make sure that we don’t sign players for the sake of it.
“We’ve got a good nine or 10 players – and when the likes of Russell McLean are back fit again we’ll be okay. Ryan Strachan is actually jogging and running now.
“We’ve got a good 11 or 12 players, but we just need to add to that, and that’s the hardest part.”
Despite his concerns about the number of players in the squad, McInally says the first competitive fixture against Aberdeen in nearly 100 years will still be one to remember.
He said: “It’s a great game and it’ll be a great day. It’s live on telly and we’ll just make the most of it.
“The pressure is really on Aberdeen to come and just turn us over – which people will expect them to do.
“We will spend a bit of time organising and will get the preparations done this week.”