Peterhead manager Jim McInally has re-signed the midfield trio of Andrew McCarthy, Alan Cook and Jordon Brown for next season however striking duo Ben Armour and Isaac Layne are to depart from Balmoor.
McCarthy is virtually unrecognisable from the player who joined the Blue Toon in January 2020 from Queen of the South both in terms of fitness and contribution to the team with Jim saying: “Andrew came to us after losing his way a bit after leaving Partick Thistle and then never really getting a chance at Queen of the South. He had a hip problem that stopped him getting fully fit however the first lockdown was probably good for him as it allowed him to get over it.”
“He worked hard and credit goes to him and our fitness coach Stuart Hogg for the way he plays now. He does not grab a lot of headlines however the amount of times he wins the ball back and then keeps possession for us is incredible. He has gone from hardly playing any football to playing lots of football and I am pleased we have him again.”
“Being happy can bring the best out of you and we have seen that with Andrew.”
As for Cookie Jim said: “Alan came here from Stenhousemuir primarily as a midfielder at much the same time as Andy however he has filled gaps in all over the pitch. That is the type of boy he is in that he will put the team first and not himself. He has a decent shot on him and hopefully we will see more of that next season from midfield.”
“He had picked up a knee injury towards the end of the season and I thought that would be him but he is such a determined character he came back and was involved in the last couple of games. That shows the spirit Alan has.”
Jordon returned to the club from Cove Rangers in January and played against his former club before the January shutdown was imposed and Jim knew in that game that bringing him back was the right move.
Jim explained: “We went down to nine men that day and Jordon worked really hard probably harder than I had seen him work before. He had hardly played football this season but he put in a great shift and I knew then exactly how much being back at Peterhead meant to him.”
“He has an eye for goal and his winner against Airdrie was really important as it set the tone for the second half of the season.”
Whilst the midfield department is looking well-stocked for next season the striking cupboard is looking bare after Jim confirmed that Ben and Isaac were departing.
Jim said: “Ben scored a number of important goals for us including a fantastic winner down at Dumbarton. I would have loved to have seen that from him every week however a niggling hamstring issue meant that he could not do that consistently.”
“I hope for him that the issue clears up and he can go on and have a good career.”
Isaac was loaned back to his former club Dumbarton in March after his time at Balmoor stalled with Jim saying: “Isaac did well initially with us however he dipped in and out of things with a knee injury. We thought that going to Dumbarton where he had a strong relationship with Jim Duffy would kick-start things for him however the knee injury seemed to hamper his time there as well.”
“I wish Ben and Isaac and any other players that leave us well.”