St Johnstone is budgeting for a whole season without fans, CALLUM DAVIDSON has revealed – but the Perth boss is confident he will get the funds in this January window to strengthen his squad.
The Saints currently have the smallest squad in the Scottish Premiership and Davidson is adamant he needs reinforcements with the Tayside side bottom of the table.
After moving from Millwall on loan this week, James Brown was the first new arrival at McDiarmid Park. Asked whether there would be more new faces coming to Fair City, Davidson was confident.
I have spoken to the president and he says that if the right players are available to enhance the squad and give it freshness, there will be money,”I’ve spoken to the chairman and he says that if the right players become available to improve the squad and give it freshness, money will be there,”
“Loans are probably the more likely option. Hopefully we can do something. January is a difficult window. I need to make sure whoever I bring in is hungry and determined to do well, and ready to hit the ground running and make an impact.”
Asked if the absence of fans would affect his transfer business, Davidson continued, “I’d imagine so, thanks for the encouraging question…. I don’t think you’re going to feel any impact this season, I think it’s going to be next season.”
Many clubs are going to have funds and it’s probably not going to be felt until next season. In all industries, and not just in soccer.
“We will start to feel the effects when it all stops. Yes, it’s difficult, but we just have to deal with it and move on.”
Fifteen contracts will end at St. Johnstone this summer. New contracts are all being sought by David Wotherspoon, Stevie May, Murray Davidson and Michael O’Halloran.
Davidson wants to retain as many players as possible, but admits his plans will be thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic.
It works both ways, he said. Some players respond well [to being out of contract], others don’t. I think it’s just important that they all fight for the contract. Now that we’re back under contract, I think it’s harder.
“Right now, there’s really no light at the end of the tunnel. For me, it would be easier if we knew exactly where we stood, and then I could start handing out contracts to the players I want to keep. But hopefully this month I can sit down with the chairman and talk about the players we want to keep next season.
“It’s in the back of your mind. We are working behind the scenes to retain four or five players on a longer-term basis. It will be an ongoing process to try to sign some.
“At this time of year you take a risk, but we would have a much better picture if we hadn’t gone into another lockout.
“In terms of our squad, we could have done a lot more business. For clubs offering big pre-contracts, there’s an element of risk and reward – or basically just risk.
“We don’t know what’s around the corner. The most important thing for me is to make sure St. Johnstone is still a soccer club when we come out of this pandemic.”
Davidson also confirmed that he hopes to send youngster Alex Ferguson out on loan before the end of the transfer period.
“You can’t have games for the younger guys. Alex Ferguson is a very, very good prospect. Getting him games will definitely help his development,” he explained.
“I don’t really care where he goes, it’s just about him getting competitive games.”
As for injuries, Davidson was pleased to report that Scott Tanser’s injury sustained at Aberdeen was not as bad as first feared.
He added, “We’re very pleased. Looking at the incident, the way he landed, I thought he was out for the season. He’s had a good week of training and is fighting for a starting spot.
“Callum [Booth] has been playing well. It’s really good [to have competition]. Scotty probably has a more offensive side to his game and Callum is a little more defensive. That’s good for me, that’s good to have. It’s great to have competition for certain spots, which I have for the majority of the team.”