Ayr Advertiser

Bullen looks at options for injured midfield duo


AYR United boss Lee Bullen says the club are being “proactive” in finding replacemen­ts for their injured midfield duo.

But he insisted the club won’t rush into a decision after finding out that Ben Dempsey and Andy Murdoch face lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Bullen spoke to the Advertiser following Ayr’s 2-0 loss to Livingston in the last 16 of the Viaplay Cup on Saturday – and only hours after the club confirmed that both players will need surgery on knee injuries.

The pair join Jamie Murphy on the Somerset Park treatment table – though the former Rangers, Hibs and St Johnstone midfielder should be returning in “a couple weeks”.

“Missing Ben Dempsey and Andy Murdoch for a while is going to be a sore one for us,” Bullen admitted. And now Ayr are, unexpected­ly, going to have to dip into the transfer market to find cover.

Bullen commented: “We’ve got 10 days until the end of the transfer window, and then we’ve got another month until the end of the loan window.

“There is time, but the loan window is a tough one. The majority of players that you would fancy at other clubs – Premiershi­p clubs –are normally kept in by the clubs until the very end of the window, until they sort out their own squads.

“Can we sit by and take a gamble that we can get the players that we want in four, five weeks’ time? I’m not sure.

“I’m sure there are other clubs that are looking at similar players to us, so we need to be a little bit proactive.”

Despite the looming closure of the transfer window, Bullen says the Honest Men will not be rushing into any decisions.

“We’ve got a lot of targets there,” he continued.

“We’ve got a meeting to discuss the options that are available, and if it’s one or potentiall­y two players that we bring in with the little bit of budget we’ve got left.

“We are being proactive, but I’m not going to say it’ll be this week. I would love it to be this week, but it has to be the right type that we bring into the group.”

Unless new recruits come in soon, United will now head into their next Championsh­ip fixture, at home to Dundee United this Saturday, short of four key players.

Adding to the three players injured, new signing Logan Chalmers – who returned to the club on loan from Dundee United at the weekend, and featured against Livingston – will be unavailabl­e to play against his parent club.

But Saturday’s performanc­e has given Bullen confidence that his squad – even in its current state – can take the game to Jim Goodwin’s side.

United lost 2-0 at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday as a Joel Nouble first-half finish and Cristian Montaño second half strike put David Martindale’s side into the quarter finals.

But Ayr matched their opponents for large periods of the game – registerin­g just as many efforts on target.

Looking back at the match, Bullen said: “The two biggest clubs in Scotland have struggled there over the years and we knew it was always going to be a tough one.

“I think Dave [Martindale,

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