In a summer of change all over Scottish football, we have seen the least incomings at Airdrieonians. With no new manager in charge, it looks set to be a long season for the Diamonds. Here is my take on the current situation, with League One action kicking off this Saturday.
With 3 key players leaving in the summer, in the name of Simon Mensing; Kyle Hutton and Iain Russell, it has left holes in the Ardrieonians side which haven’t as yet been plugged.
The only player to have been brought in so far is David Brownlie from Ross County and to an extent, this will plug the gap left by Mensing – but with no real leader or experienced head at the back, this may prove to be the defining issue over the course of the season.
The Diamonds’ strongest department is the midfield, in my opinion, with the two most experienced players amongst the group plying their trade in this area. Captain Marc Fitzpatrick and Ryan Conroy will need to guide the team this season; with the defensive mind of Fitzpatrick and the creative spark of Conroy this could work well in the centre of the park. With impressive youngster Scott Stewart also staying on, this will give the energy required to see Airdrieonians create the chances needed.
With a finisher like Andy Ryan in their ranks, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Diamonds supporters. If they can keep this striker fit, he could be the difference between finishing mid-table and in the play-offs.
Overall, it is a very young squad and will take a lot of adjustments before getting to grips with the league, in my opinion. It is going to be difficult to replace the retired Iain Russell, although his namesake Cammy has shown he can score goals at senior level. If the players availavle can raise their game then there is no doubt that the Diamonds can make the play-offs. If a slow start occurs, it may be the undoing of the season and leave too much to do for the young guys to reach the top four.