Hibs boss: I won’t sign players for sake of it

Terry Butcher. Jason Scotland is pictured below
Terry Butcher. Jason Scotland is pictured below
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Terry Butcher today insisted he’d rather see out the season with his current squad than bring new players to Easter Road simply for the sake of it.

The Hibs boss is hoping to strengthen his strikeforce this month but, he revealed, it may take until the final few days of the transfer window before his wish is realised.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 04:  Jason Scotland of Barnsley celebrates scoring his side's second goal  during the npower Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Barnsley at John Smith's Stadium on May 04, 2013 in Huddersfield, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Jason Scotland of Barnsley celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the npower Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Barnsley at John Smith's Stadium on May 04, 2013 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Capital club have notched just 19 Scottish Premiership goals so far this season thanks in the main to scoring nine in recent weeks.

However, Butcher was adamant that former Hibs star Dean Shiels and ex-St Johnstone and Dundee United striker Jason Scotland, both of whom have been linked with a move to Easter Road, weren’t on his shopping list.

He said: “I spoke to Jason Scotland’s agent on Monday and said I would not be pursuing that but then I see it’s in the papers that we are keen on doing it. That’s what happens, every day there’s a new player we are interested in. I haven’t spoken to Dean Shiels’ agent but we would not be interested in that.

“We are looking to strengthen. Defensively we are pretty strong but going forward and scoring goals is something we want to improve on and having drawn a blank at Aberdeen it’s an area we want to strengthen.

“I know it’s the middle of the month, but it’s still early on. Nothing generally falls into place until the latter part of the month, the last minute.”

Although he’d like to tweak his squad over the next couple of weeks, Butcher insisted he doesn’t have to move players on before he can bring fresh talent in although Kevin Thomson, Tim Clancy, Rowan Vine and Tom Taiwo are all reported to have been told they can leave before their contracts expire at the end of the season.

With the deals of 14 of his current players due to run out at the end of the season, the manager also revealed he’s already working on reshaping his squad in the summer, when wheeling and dealing tends to be that bit easier.

He said: “You are very restricted in January as to how you can move, it’s a lot more difficult than in the summer. We’ve already made plans to bring in players in the summer, that’s already started. What I don’t want to do is bring in players that are no better than we have and simply fill spaces.

“I’m not going to do that, I would rather go with the squad that we have although we definitely think we need to add not just quality but a new face, a new option.”

Butcher, though, is well aware of the competition he’s likely to face in attracting fresh talent having turned up at Sunderland’s Under-21 match against Stoke on Monday – the second of two games he took in that day – to find a host of other Scottish clubs represented.

He said: “Scott Paterson [Partick Thistle], Allan Johnston [Kilmarnock], Tommy Craig [St Mirren] and Archie Knox [Dundee] were all there, half the Premiership was there.

“People talk about transfer lists but there’s no such thing really.

“We have Steve Marsella [his head scout] in particular who has a series of names but all of a sudden you get a phone call from an agent or contact saying so-and-so is available or have you heard about this or that? “Then you have to move quickly because you have competition not only from Scotland but England as well.

“You have to try to get there as quickly as you can, speak to agents, to your contacts, get your references done.”