SAUCHIE boss Fraser Duncan admitted he is desperate to add a central defender to his squad after four left Beechwood Park over the past few weeks.

Jordan Tapping, Oliver Fleming, Gary McCulloch have all left, while Steven Dolan has been released, leaving Duncan drastically short of options.

But the manager revealed he is close to adding replacements to the ranks.

He told Advertiser Sport: "We need to get a centre-back in as a priority because we have lost Tappy, Gary, Stevie and Ollie now. Me, Adrian and Dougie are desperate to get things sorted.

"All three of us are working on that and we are hoping to get something sorted this week.

"Tappy gave us two great years and Gary gave us four, so I can't begrudge them the chance to move on and try something new.

"Obviously, it is a blow to have lost them but they have given everything to the club and deserve the chance to try new things.

"Stevie has done well for us but he's at a stage now where he needs to be playing every week, and I couldn't guarantee him that.

"He is a good player and would do well for a lot of teams. But it was becoming more and more difficult for him to hold down a first-team place.

"I could have kept him and gone through the motions for another year but he needs to be playing games, so we mutually agreed that he'd move on."

Midfielder Martyn Shields has also been released by the club, and Duncan says both he and Dolan deserve to be playing regular football, which he wasn't able to guarantee.

He said: "Stevie has been freed and Martyn is also moving on. He'll be signing for Kilsyth, and it's a similar sort of situation to Stevie.

"He's been great and I'd have liked to have kept him here but I just couldn't guarantee that he'd be playing every week and he needs that at this stage of his career."

Duncan has made his first new signing, brining striker Conor Kelly back to the club from Linlithgow Rose, and he is hoping the forward can rediscover his scoring touch.

He added: "We have brought Conor in and we have another couple of players signing this week. Getting him back in is massive and he will be a huge asset for us.

"He was great for us before and then he went to Linlithgow, where I don't think it worked out as well as everyone hoped. I want to rebuild his confidence and get him back scoring goals."