Dunfermline Athletic sit atop of League One. However, Marc McAusland’s injury on Saturday may see manager Allan Johnston acquire at least one player in the transfer window.
In my opinion, a defender was needed whether it was in January or over the summer period. Lewis Martin is a central defender and has been utilised not only on the left flank during Jason Talbot’s suspension but also at right-back when Ryan Williamson succumbed to another long-term injury. The addition of McAusland and Shaun Rooney covered for the absentees of Williamson and captain Callum Fordyce respectively. At present, there is no proper cover for Talbot and if he were to go down, the squad would be stretched to its thinnest.
However, left-back tends to be the hardest position to pick up quality from due to the lack of competent players at all levels of the game nevermind the third tier of Scottish football.
An added problem arises as the Pars have aspirations of finishing at least mid-table in the Championship next season and need a player suitable of this. There is no point being short-termest and getting a minor fix that needs to be addressed again in six months time. Finding someone of that calibre will not be available until the end of the month when contracts become mutually terminated and even then the right one may not arise.
In midfield, there is a need of a holder. If Andy Geggan were to miss any time then Josh Falkingham could be used as a stopgap but in that instance you are limiting his output. The Englishman is better alongside a defensive-minded partner, who allows him to pressurise the opposition in an effort to win the ball back.
Now this position has, at least, one quality player available to acquire on a free transfer right now. One of them being 29-year-old Issac Osbourne, who was formerly of St. Mirren, Partick Thistle and Aberdeen. He is pacy and physically, two key attributes to play this role at this level, but is also comfortable on the ball and can make those omnidirectional 10 yard passes. However, the reason he has not been picked up in all likeliness is because of the three knee injuries that he had sustained over his career.
If a signing in that position was made it would see Lewis Spence go on loan. The product of the youth academy has made only one appearance this season – off the bench against Arbroath in August. If he were to go on loan to East Fife, then that would be ideal for all parties. The Methil based club are lacking bodies in the middle of the park and the 20-year-old can use the game time while still training with the club and playing in U20s matches.
Up front, there could be an argument for letting go of Mickaël Antoine-Curier, who has struggled to be fully fit since his signing after the summer window had shut. If anything, it was a luxury acquisition at the time and most fans have never taken to the Guadleopaean international. Johnston is settled on a front two of Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Michael Moffat while Ryan Wallace and David Hopkirk play the supporting roles from the bench. As a result, the French-born journeyman has been on the peripheries and played only 306 minutes. Teenager, Paul Joseph Crossan has been on the bench more frequently and as a body to fill the 18 man matchday squad it is better him than somebody earning a higher wage for the same output.
If these alterations to the team were to take place, I believe it makes for a more balanced playing squad and a solid base for next season.
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