Dec 30 2011 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
BRIAN REID wants to smash the January window with a bumper FIVE signings.
And he insists central and wide midfielders are a must if Ayr are to survive in the First Division.
Ryan Connolly, who set up the equaliser in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers, has now returned to Derby with his loan deal complete.
And there are big question marks over experienced duo Tam McManus and Alex Burke.
The short term deal for McManus runs out after the Scottish Cup tie at Livingston on January 7.
And former Dunfermline midfielder Burke hasn’t kicked a ball since the Ramsdens Cup defeat by Annan in September.
Reid has still to sit down with McManus who is considering a switch to America.
And he concedes that Burke will be disappointed at not playing for so long.
Reid said: “If we lose three players I would need to bring in five as we don’t have a great strength of depth.
“Ryan Connolly is a great lad and a joy to work with. He was unfortunate not to feature so much but is still only young.
“It is never easy for a 19-year-old coming in and finding consistency. Ryan was always doing extra work in the gym and I hope he has a long career.”
Monday’s win lifted Ayr above Queen of the South at the foot of the table and they still have two games in hand on them and fellow toilers Raith.
Reid said: “We have got ourselves into a position where we can kick on.
“I was disappointed not to get three points against Raith but their keeper David McGurn earned them a point when they shouldn’t have had any.
“We had more possession than them, far more shots on target and more corners. It shows we dominated but we got hit by a breakaway goal.
“A special mention to Andy Geggan who did a very good job at left back. He has played right back at Dumbarton but I didn’t want to switch Jonathan Tiffoney and make two changes when one would suffice.”
Eddie Malone, who missed the Boxing Day draw through suspension, returns on Monday while Martyn Campbell is inching closer to a return.
The players were in on Wednesday for a daytime training session and will train again on Saturday morning.
River Cottage bus for Cappielow leaves at 12.30pm. And they still have seats on their buses for the League Cup tie against Kilmarnock. Call 287923.
Ayr have sold almost 4500 tickets for the Hampden semi. Shop hours are noon to 5pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 10am to 2pm on Saturday.