New Year squad changes ahead

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin says there will be players both leaving and coming in once next month’s transfer window opens.

January is always a time of movement in football and it seems the Lichties will be no different.

And although the boss didn’t signal out any particular areas of improvement, he says he is always looking to bring more quality into the club.

He told HeraldSport: “I do tend to make changes during these times because it is good to do some shuffling of the pack.

“We now have quite a big squad as both Jake Mair and Connor Birse have stepped up to the first team, so there will be some players going come January.

“It is unfortunate but you have to freshen things up.

“In terms of bringing people in they have to be of quality to enhance the squad.

“Whether they be defenders or forward players we are always looking to improve things and we have a couple of ideas.”

But before the window opens, the Lichties have their festive fixtures to contend with, although tomorrow (Saturday) there is no scheduled game.

This means their next clash will be a Boxing Day (Wednesday) derby against Brechin City at Glebe Park, their second consecutive game against an Angus rival.

The boss added: “We will be training on Saturday morning and that will be it until the game on Wednesday.

“It kind of helps we have a big game like this on Boxing Day because these games always have an extra edge and they are good for the fans so it’s not a bad thing.

“I was quite happy to have Forfar after the Celtic game because they do lift you.

“So it will be a huge game, especially given league positions at the minute.”

The Lichties are currently sitting fourth in Division Two, which is the final promotion play-off spot, one point ahead of Brechin.

However, City could overtake Mr Sheerin’s men if they get the right result against Ayr United tomorrow.

And the boss is aware of their turn in fortunes in recent weeks following the appointment of their new manager Ray McKinnon.

He explained: “Brechin have given a great response to Ray since he went into the job and they have been doing really well.

“They play tomorrow and it is possible they could move ahead of us come Wednesday so it will be a huge match for both teams.”

On Saturday, the Lichties were lucky to get a point in a derby against Forfar at Station Park as they scored in the last kick of the game to make it 1-1.

And even though they had to squeeze three games into a week due to last Wednesday’s huge Scottish Cup tie against Celtic, the manager is not using tiredness as an excuse for a better result.

Mr Sheerin said: “I thought we were fortunate in the first half but we just didn’t have it in the final third and the game lost its fizz as it went on.

“It has been demanding for us lately but I wouldn’t use that as an excuse.

“We did freshen the team up so now we have to be revving to go come Boxing Day.”

* The club will be opening the club shop tomorrow (Saturday) for anybody needing to pick up orders or wanting last minute Christmas gifts.

Karen will be at the shop between 10 and 11 a.m.