St Johnstone expect to unveil a new centre-back by the end of the week.
And manager Steven MacLean has revealed that getting the right player, who will be a permanent recruit, for that position has been a time-consuming process.
“It will be good to have another fresh face in and we’re looking forward to getting him in the building,” said the Perth boss.
“He’s young, with a good pedigree and is a good lad – all the reports about him have been very positive.
“Hopefully he’ll come in and do well.
“We have been looking for a centre-half. I have been pretty clear about that.
“It’s been tough. Everyone has been looking for central defenders so it’s competitive trying to sign them.
🗣️ "If I can add that bit of quality, I think we'll have a good season"
St Johnstone boss Steven MacLean is hopeful to add at least three more signings to his squad and is positive about the upcoming campaign ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/8dSw1OdJfg
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) July 27, 2023
“We’ve lost out on players to teams who are paying more money.
“But there’s not much you can do. You lose players to certain clubs, players want the best wages they can get.
“I’m comfortable with what the budget is and I’m confident we’ll get the players we need.
“I still want a midfielder and a wide player after that. Then we’ll maybe look at a few different things before the window closes too.”
Squad will look much different
MacLean believes that by the time the transfer window closes he’ll have a squad capable of putting a disappointing Viaplay Cup campaign behind them and doing well in the Premiership.
“I’m confident that by the end of August the team and squad will look pretty different to how it does now,” he said.
“Between adding players and getting people back from injury, I think we’ll be in a good place.
“We’ll have a squad ready to go and compete.
“We need our injured players back.
“The positive news is that James Brown has trained so he will come into the equation, although Saturday may be too soon.
“Dan Phillips will play on Saturday as well, so it will be good to start him again.
“When we get the injured boys back, we’ll stop putting square pegs in round holes.
“I don’t want to be playing Drey Wright as a right-back but it was a case of needs must because of where we are with the squad.
“I wanted to put Ryan McGowan back into midfield to help the young lads in there so that meant shuffling things about.
“But when we get players back, we’ll have people playing in their natural positions again and have that competition for places you need.
“We’ll get stronger when Cammy MacPherson comes back and then Nicky Clark, although he’s going to be a little bit longer before he can start running again.”
Clinical one game, the opposite a few days later
Reflecting on the defeat to Ayr United and looking ahead to Saturday’s clash with Stirling Albion, MacLean said: “The difference between Ayr and Alloa was taking chances.
“We took them at Alloa but against Ayr we should have been two up. That leaves you open to being punished from set-pieces and deflections.
“We have to go out and win at the weekend. We’re disappointed to be out but players have places against Hearts to play for.
“You always have a point to prove and we want to excite the supporters.”
Graham Carey is a doubt after picking up a knock in midweek.