BALLYMENA United Glenn Ferguson is confident of landing a further “one, two, or maybe three” signings in the January transfer window.
The Sky Blues boss is ready to reshuffle his pack on the back of a dreadful run of form which saw his side narrowly avoid a seventh straight Danske Bank Premiership defeat on Saturday, with an injury time equaliser earning United a 3-3 draw against bottom side Lisburn Distillery.
Ferguson has already snapped up striker Shane Dolan following his release by Donegal Celtic, while James Costello has left the Showgrounds to join Dungannon Swifts.
“We will definitely have some new faces in by the end of January,” said Ferguson.
“We’ve made enquiries, spoken to people and we’re hopeful.
“We’re looking to get another one or two, maybe three, in before the end of January.
“We had Jordan Baker leave earlier in the season so Shane Dolan coming in is virtually a one-for-one situation so that hasn’t affected the wage budget, plus we hadn’t used all our budget in the summer because we said we wouldn’t sign players just for the sake of it but the right ones are hard to get.”
Ferguson has now targeted a central defender as his main priority, despite suggestions that Johnny Taylor – who, it was thought, would miss the remainder of the campaign with a knee ligament injury – may return before the end of the season.
In the more immediate term, Ferguson could be without first choice centre-backs Aaron Stewart and Davy Munster in the short term after both came off injured in Saturday’s draw.
Ferguson has also identified players who may leave the club in January, either on a short-term or permanent basis.
“We’ve spoken to players who have been told they need to do better and others who have been told that changes need to be made.
“Some people go to clubs and things don’t work out and that has happened here. We’ve bided our time, given them chances and it hasn’t worked out.
“I had a chat with the players concerned on Thursday night and they know so it is up to themselves now what they want to do. A couple of clubs have enquired about loans for a couple of them.
“It’s up to us to us now to get some new players in before the end of January who we think will help us,” added Ferguson, who has identified his targets for 2013.
“We’re still looking for a top six finish in the league - we know it’s going to be difficult but we will be chasing as many points as we can.
“A good run in the Irish Cup would be good but that’s way off the mark at the minute, we have league points to play for first.
“We have seen improvement this year in terms of going on a long unbeaten run and then winning the County Antrim Shield but everything nose-dived after that so we want to improve again,” added Ferguson.
Ballymena are at home to Ballinamallard United this Friday night, January 5 (7.45pm), the match having been brought forward to allow the Sky Blues an opportunity to accept an invitation of a friendly match against Leonidas in Holland.
Midfielder Gavin Taggart remains suspended following his dismissal against Distillery last weekend, after United’s New Year’s Day game at Dungannon was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.