BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
FALKIRK are running the rule over former Partick Thistle captain Sean Welsh as boss Paul Hartley promised a swathe of January arrivals.
Welsh, 27, has been without a club since leaving Firhill in May but is training with the struggling Bairns in a bid to win a contract.
The experienced midfielder also turned out for Falkirk’s development squad on Monday evening as they slipped to a 5-1 defeat against their Hearts counterparts.
Welsh saw his five-year stint with Thistle interrupted by serious injuries, however he was a key part of their fine run to the top-six last term, scoring four goals in 28 outings, before a fractured metatarsal in his foot ended his season prematurely in February.
And Hartley had no qualms about taking a closer look at the ex-Hibs man after a chat with Jags gaffer Alan Archibald.
The Bairns boss said: “Sean has been in for the last five days and we just wanted to have a look at him.
“He has been out for a long time with an injury, so we will see how this week goes and decide if we are going to do something.
“Sean is a good player. He’s been unlucky with injuries but I spoke to Alan [Archibald] about him, and there’s no doubt that, on his day, he is a very good midfielder.
“He is one of those boys who has been unfortunate to pick up knocks in his career but I know him pretty well, and he has still played more than 100 games for Partick – a lot of those in the Premier League – so there’s real quality there.”
Handing a trial to Welsh is just one of the irons in the fire for Hartley, who has assured supporters that he intends to swiftly rebuild an underperforming Falkirk squad.
He has already secured the capture of Louis Longridge and Reghan Tumilty on loan from Hamilton and Ross County respectively, while he has been putting in the miles south of the border in a bid to line up new signings for the moment the transfer window opens in January.
Hartley continued: “We plan to make it a really, really busy January, and I am not talking about squeezing people in on the 31st of January – I want to get people in the door in the first week of January.
“I want a group of players that can come in and improve the team.
“There will be changes. We need to improve in certain areas and we already have plans in place.
“I’ve been down in England last week taking in a few games, and we’ll continue to do that between now and the end of December. We’ve come in at a time where we can’t do an awful lot with the squad – but what I can do is get things lined up.
“We have a fairly large squad, so we can’t just keep adding players. There will have to be a bit of movement with players going out too, which is just part and parcel of football.”
While a hectic winter transfer window awaits, Hartley is acutely aware that ending the Bairns’ recent malaise is a more immediate concern after a 3-0 defeat against Morton on Saturday left them in a relegation playoff place.
It is a far cry from their promotion aspirations at the start of the campaign,
And Hartley added: “We’re in a position we shouldn’t be in – but we are, because we haven’t won enough games.
“We need to wake up and say ‘this is where we are, now how do we get out of it?’ And we get out of it with hard work, fighting spirit and showing more at both ends of the pitch.”