An early season injury crisis has Peterhead manager Jim McInally looking to see if a loan market will open up for Highland League players who are currently idle and could be idle until the New Year.
The Blue Toon are set to take on Cove Rangers this Saturday without the injured Gary Mackenzie, Josh Mulligan, Simon Ferry and Ben Armour as well as Gary Fraser who is self-isolating. Isaac Layne is also a doubt after suffering a knee knock in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat from Airdrie and if he misses out McInally will be down to 13 players, two of whom are goalkeepers.
McInally already has Mulligan and Lyall Cameron in on-loan from Dundee as well as Dundee United’s Kieran Freeman but has two loan spaces left and he is monitoring whether Highland League clubs are willing to gamble on when their league will resume.
A provisional start date of November 28 has been set for the return of the Highland League however it will not be known until November 9, nine days after the Transfer Window closes, if that date will be met or whether it will be pushed back until the New Year.
The Balmoor boss could step his interest up if the clubs are keen to do business against a background of uncertainty as he explained: “I am looking to get players in and loan deals until January would be a great option for us as everyone should be back for by then. Josh’s injury has still to be fully assessed but should be weeks rather than months. Ben will be missing for a couple of weeks, Gary Makenzie could be a bit longer and Simon a month to six weeks. Gary Fraser should be available next week whereas and Isaac may make the Cove game.”
“We do not usually have much success when it comes to recruiting Highland League players but it could be that we can get a couple in just now until January.”
“I know that it is a gamble for Highland League clubs as they will not know if their league is starting before the window closes. If their league starts in November, they will be missing players until January however if they decide not to loan players out, they will miss out on some wages being paid and their players keeping active.”
© Craig Stewart/ Peterhead Football Club