Jan 20 2010 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
PAUL MARTIN says he is planning more squad surgery after bringing two new players to Albion Rovers.
The Cliftonhill gaffer faces a busy end to the month as he prepares for the run to the Third Division play-offs.
Former Hamilton Accies and Dumbarton striker Paul McLeod has penned a deal until the end of the season and ex-Dundee United and Stranraer stopper Phil McGrath has also joined.
But Martin has also been shipping players out, with Paul Stewart sent to Ayrshire junior outfit Ardrossan Winton Rovers for a month, and midfielder Brendan Crozier’s loan stint at Bellshill Athletic has resulted in his switch being made a permanent one.
The addition of McLeod could not come at a better time after young hitman Marc Pollock suffered knee ligament damage in a friendly win over Bellshill at the weekend.
Boss Martin expects Pollock to be out of action for eight weeks but admitted that a timescale could not be set until the player is once again assessed by medical staff.
“Marc has strained medial ligaments but we won’t know how bad it is until he goes back to hospital,” the manager said.
“We are hoping that he will be back by the middle of the March and we know that he is a quick healer.
“I am delighted with the two new signings that we have made in the past few days.
“Paul [McLeod] has good experience at this level and Phil is a strong centre-half who started out at Dundee United.
“As for Paul [Stewart] and Brendan, both guys want to play regularly so these moves give them the best opportunity to do that.
“It still looks like we will need more bodies and I am going to have to make some progress on that front.”
Rovers are in action again tonight as they head to Forthbank for their Scottish Cup Fourth Round replay at Stirling Albion less than 48 hours after sharing a goalless draw. Martin should have midfielder Steven McKeown to call on while forward David McFarlane has an outside chance of being fit.
He said: “It’s a real strain for both Rovers and Stirling as we both have aspirations in our respective leagues.
“My players will have had no rest and recuperation ahead of the replay so we will not be all that well prepared physically.
“Some common sense on this issue would have helped and if we played next Monday night, for example, it would have been a better spectacle for the fans.
“I think we bridged the gap. Stirling have some very good players and you can see why they are sitting second-top of their division.
“I actually think they will go on and win the title.
“We’ve shown character and resilience all season and we feel we are a tough team to beat.
“If I don’t believe we can win on Wednesday, then I won’t go. But I’ll be there.”