Martindale admits lowly Livi will struggle to attract top signings

The Livingston manager has spoken to several players this month.

David Martindale admitted he is finding it difficult to attract players of the calibre of Hearts’ Andy Halliday to struggling Livingston as he reflected on a frustrating January transfer window so far.

The Lions, who are bottom of the Premiership, recruited defender Shaun Donnellan and striker Tete Yengi at the start of the month but their manager still feels he needs “another couple” to help spark an upturn.

Martindale has spoken to several players, including 32-year-old Halliday, but he expects the versatile former Rangers and Middlesbrough player to move elsewhere.

“I think Andy would be an unbelievable player for Livingston, he would add huge positivity to the group, but Andy’s got some strong options and I respect that,” he said.

“I would love a player of Andy’s calibre at Livingston but I think it’s a wee bit out of sight, if I’m honest.

“If you’re a player and you’ve got a chance of being in a relegation battle or chasing Europe or top six, at that end of your career you’re probably going to try and chase European football.”

Of further frustration to Martindale, an injury sustained by goalkeeper Jack Hamilton – who had taken over from Shamal George before the break – means the Lions may have to use some of their modest transfer budget on a new keeper.

“Jack’s done really well but he’s now given Shamal the opportunity to step in again,” said Martindale.

“We’re going to have to call up the under-18 goalkeeper and it’s an area we’re going to have to look at strengthening because Jack could be out for six to eight weeks and this is a pivotal part of the season.

“It’s an area of the park I don’t want to be using finances on because we’ve got two very capable keepers in the building but it’s something I’m going to have to look at.”

Martindale also revealed the Lions are attempting to loan out 20-year-old South African Aphele Teto to a European club in an effort to ensure he is eligible for a work permit in the summer.

The young forward joined Livi on a four-year deal in August, only for his Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) application, which paves the way for a work permit to be granted, to be rejected.

Teto’s circumstances have not changed due to a lack of international action so the Lions’ hopes of having him available for the second half of this season have been dashed.

“If he can get out playing for the next six months, that would give him the necessary change in circumstances to apply for a panel in the summer,” said Martindale.

“It’s frustrating because he would have been an asset. I believe my opinion should hold a bit more weight when it comes to a work permit because we’re saying he’ll play for us.

“He’s been training with us for six months and he’s been absolutely incredible, he’d have made a big difference for us.”

Donnellan could be in the squad for the first time as Livingston host Raith in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup on Saturday, while fellow new recruit Yengi is doubtful with a minor injury.

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