Dunfermline Press

‘We need more bodies in’ says Kelty assistant


KELTY HEARTS “need more bodies in” and will be looking to exploit the loan market this month to bolster their squad.

Assistant manager, Kevin McDonald, said that the club will be working to add players to “give the group a little bit of help” after stating his belief that they are “quite light” in terms of numbers.

In what has been a summer of transition at New Central Park, after player / manager, Michael Tidser, took over from John Potter, following his departure to take up a new role with Raith Rovers, 14 players left on a permanent basis, with another, Jordan Hunter, joining junior outfit Dundee North End on loan.

They have brought in a total of 11 players and all- but- one - Dundee United midfielder, Lewis O’Donnell, has signed on loan until January - have arrived on permanent deals.

One of those, however, Lewis Moore, was forced off during Saturday’s draw with Annan Athletic and, post- match, McDonald said Kelty will be looking to add to their squad.

Despite the transfer window closing last Friday, players who are unattached can still be signed, while clubs outwith the Scottish Premiershi­p can still conclude loan deals throughout September for players at a higher level.

“We need more bodies in, that’s

100 per cent. We are quite light and, obviously, if you lose a couple to injuries, there’s not much. You’ve got young lads who have not really played much on the bench,” McDonald told Press Sport.

“We probably do need a couple in, and we’ll be trying to do that, hopefully, going forward.

“The loan market’s going to be massive for us in the next few weeks. It’s something that we definitely need to try and look at, and see if we can give the group a little bit of help with some more bodies.

“We’ve got a lot of bodies in midfield, so it’ll be other areas probably, but I just think the group definitely need help with numbers because we are low. We’re training with low numbers because we’re looking after people, and it’s something we definitely need to look at going forward.”

McDonald revealed that Moore, who arrived after leaving Queen’s Park, missed Kelty’s previous match, at Stirling Albion, with a hamstring injury, but was fit to play against Annan after coming through training leading into the game.

However, with just 17 minutes on the clock, he was forced off with what Tidser’s number two believed to be a re- occurance of that injury, which looks set to rule him out for Saturday’s SPFL Trust Trophy trip to Dumbarton.

That match will be the first time

Kelty have met the in- form League

Two Sons, and McDonald said they are eager to progress.

Last season, the ‘ Maroon Machine’ reached the quarter- finals of the competitio­n, losing to Queen of the South on penalties, and he added: “I think we need to go and have a go.

“It’s another game for the club that can make money. You want to get through to the next round because of what can come off the back of it, so we’ll definitely be treating it like a league game, and we’ll be going there to try and win.”

SIGNING for his hometown club has resulted in familiar faces cheering him on but Kelty Hearts have provided Craig Johnston with the fresh start he feels he needed.

The 28-year-old, who is from the village, left Montrose after six years to sign for Michael Tidser’s side during the summer, and netted his first league goal for the club in Saturday’s draw with Annan Athletic.

Forward Johnston, who began his career with Cowdenbeat­h, had a short loan stint at New Central Park during the 2013/14 campaign - when Kelty were still a junior outfit, playing in the East Region Super League - and reckons he has a point to prove now he has come back “a bit more experience­d”.

“For me, it means quite a lot because I’ve been here all my life,” he told Press Sport. “I’ll know half the people that are watching me - I’ll pass them in the street and I’ll know exactly who they are!

“I want to try and impress every time I’m here, and every game to be fair. Every game’s the same, but for me it’s a wee bit different for me, being from here.

“I came on loan about 10 years ago. I came on loan for six months, and it was alright, but I was a different player back then. I was so young.

“Coming back now, I felt I had a wee bit of a point to prove, being older and being a bit more experience­d. I still think like that every game.

“I’m really enjoying it. It was a fresh start I needed. I was at Montrose six years, and it was really good, I enjoyed it, but for me personally, I needed a fresh start, and this is exactly what I’ve got here.

“I’ve got the backing of the manager as well, which is good for me.”

During the summer, player/boss Tidser told Press Sport that Johnston was “one of the first players that I wanted to try and get in the door” and, emphasisin­g his belief in the player, said “I know for a fact he’ll cause defenders problems”.

His link-up play and work alongside the likes of fellow attackers, such as Tiwi Daramola, Ross Cunningham and Botti Biabi, has been a key component of Kelty’s promising start to the campaign.

He netted three goals in their Viaplay Cup group stage campaign - which saw them beat Edinburgh City and Stranraer, as well as winning a penalty shoot-out bonus point win over Ross County, after a 3-3 draw - and is hopeful more will follow in League One, which sees Kelty sitting fifth with seven points from five matches.

“From the minute I’ve came in, he’s backed me,” Johnston said of Tidser.

“He’ll speak to you in training, he’ll speak to you on the park, or he’ll take you away and get your opinion. He’s involved with you, which is good.

“I feel like I could speak to him if I need to, and he’ll feel like that with me, so it’s good. I’m impressed with how he’s handling everything.”

Johnston was also relieved to net his first league strike against Annan, finishing off Biabi’s through pass with cool, clinical finish.

“I got three in the cup, so it was a good start for me, but I was actually thinking this morning that I need to get up-andrunning in the league, because it plays on your mind a wee bit, the more it goes,” he added post-match.

“It was good for me and, obviously, when you score as well, it’s frustratin­g not to get the three points because it means more.

I was thinking ‘it’s game five now and I’ve still not scored’, so I actually said to myself I need to get one today! The gaffer spoke to me through the week as well and said I need to be a wee bit more selfish.

“Having him behind you and telling you things like that is good for the confidence as well, so I felt quite confident running through I was going to take it.”

 ?? ?? Craig Johnston’s goal wasn’t enough to hand Kelty Hearts victory on Saturday. Image: David Wardle.
Craig Johnston’s goal wasn’t enough to hand Kelty Hearts victory on Saturday. Image: David Wardle.

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