Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster says he is working hard to strengthen his squad ahead of the SWPL transfer window opening in January.
Lancaster is working with a threadbare squad of only 10 senior players, with the rest of the team being made up with youth players from Aberdeen FC Ladies under-18s.
The Dons were hit with two devastating blows last month as summer signing Laura Holden suffered an ACL injury, as did on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Faye Kirby.
Despite those challenging circumstances, Lancaster has guided Aberdeen to four SWPL wins this season – but his side are in the midst of a difficult run, having lost their last five matches in all competitions.
Aberdeen host Partick Thistle at Balmoral Stadium on Sunday off the back of a close 3-2 loss to reigning league champions Glasgow City at home last weekend.
Lancaster hopes to add more new recruits to his squad when the transfer window opens, but admits there are challenges in attracting players to the north-east.
The Dons boss said: “I’ve been looking at players for a long time now. It’s just making sure that we can bring any players that we have highlighted in in January.
“It’s not easy for us to bring in the players, but I will be doing everything I can to make sure I can help the group.
“Geography does make it a challenge. If you’re a part-time outfit it can be difficult for players to make the journey here to play part-time.
“It’s certainly not the club – geography is the big challenge and if we were nearer the Central Belt then that would make things easier, and I know the club are behind going full-time at some point.
“I’m not putting a number on how many players we need to bring in right now. We just need to try and find the right kind of players and see who is going to be available.”
Morale not dented by recent results
Despite a difficult run of form, Lancaster says morale has not dropped among the squad as the Dons search for their first win following the five straight defeats.
He added: “The group have been good because they recognise we have played well in those games.
“Unfortunately things just aren’t going our way and it’s not been poor performances which have cost us – it has been errors and we need to eradicate those mistakes.
“The players recognise we’re light on numbers, but this is the group that we have got until January.
“They have given it 110%. I can’t fault their effort because they are really trying.
“We’ve scored two goals in each of our last two matches, but we do need to tighten up at the back and be better defensively. We can’t expect to have to score three or four goals to win a game of football.
“The morale is good and the confidence is still there in the group. They haven’t been impacted by the recent results.”
Lancaster ‘pleased’ with first round standing
The home clash with Partick Thistle is the final match of the first round of fixtures and marks the halfway point ahead of the SWPL top and bottom six split in March.
Aberdeen currently sit eighth in the top-flight with 12 points from 10 games, but a win over Brian Graham’s side on Sunday could see the Reds move back into the top six.
Lancaster said: “We’re in a good position.
“What I have said to the squad is that we’re one game away from the halfway point. I look at the split as the end of a season and post-split is the start of a second one.
“I’m looking at this next game as our halfway point and we can assess it from there after we see what happens on Sunday.
“We’ve done well to get where we are, but there have been performances – like the last two – where we should have got something out of those games.
“But other teams have been dropping points, because this is a competitive league. It’s a tough league and I think anybody can take points off anybody.
“I’m pleased with where we are at the moment. We’re within touching distance of where we want to be, so we just have to hope that we can keep building on that.”
The other north fixtures
There are no SWF Championship matches this weekend, with Caley Thistle Women and Westdyke both returning to league action on October 29.
In the SWFL North, second-placed Inverurie Locos travel to Dryburgh Athletic, meanwhile Huntly – who are level on nine points with Locos, but sit in third on goal difference – host Elgin City.
Grampian Ladies are on the road as they face Arbroath, and Stonehaven welcome north-east rivals Westdyke Thistle to Mineralwell Park.