Kettlewell makes striker a priority as Motherwell chase signings

The Fir Park side hope to be active in the final days of the window.

Stuart Kettlewell has stressed the importance of signing a striker for Motherwell before the window closes, but says it’s a difficult position to fill in January.

Mika Biereth was recalled from his loan at Fir Park by Arsenal early in the window, while fellow forwards Conor Wilkinson and Oli Shaw have left since.

That leaves Kettlewell desperately short of options in attack and keen to add new faces in the remaining days before the end of the month.

“It’s been the priority since the start of the window,” he said. “As we all know, January is a tough window and a difficult market.

“We’ve been trying to strengthen in several areas that we identified long before the transfer window but it’s not as simple as clicking your fingers and getting players in. There’s a lot of challenges that you’re met with.”

Mika Biereth impressed for Motherwell but was recalled by Arsenal. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)

The Motherwell boss revealed that he had felt frustration build as deals have failed to come to fruition but said that he still had options to explore.

Kettlewell said: “We’ve spoken to a lot of players and a lot of football clubs, tried to dress up situations, some of which looked really positive but sometimes you fall flat on your face. I suppose that’s part and parcel of it.

“You start to have that bit of petulance, annoyance and frustration on my side of things.

“But you come in this morning and think there’s always that plan B, C or D and other routes you can go down, who you can potentially get in.

“Always from my side of things, you need to have players that want to play for your football club. The guys who are jumping through hoops to get here are always the best players for you.

“We’ll continue to work over the next six days to make sure that we get the best players possible to this club but I think it’s pretty evident that the front area of the pitch is where we need to focus on.”

Jonathan Obika’s injury means Theo Bair is the only senior striker currently available and Kettlewell may be looking for more than one player to bolster the attack.

“I want to get one in first and then I will see where I am from there,” he added. “What does that leave us in terms of finances?

“There are so many things in question, everything depends on money and availability.

“The situation is evolving all the time, we are having to shift the goalposts depending on being turned down by a player or whether we can afford one, or if we can afford him does that mean it’s only one rather than two?

“Because we have had so many injuries, we sometimes have to think about having that cover and ensuring it’s maybe more than one.”

Motherwell have added new faces in other areas this month, with Andy Halliday the latest arrival after Callan Elliott and Sam Nicolson had already joined the club.

Kettlewell highlighted the need for new faces, having been forced to look to youth just to make up a full matchday squad.

“I was really happy (to make existing signings) and I think everyone can see that the first port of call is to bring quality into your group,” he said. “We get that with the new signings.

“But it’s also a numbers game. Massively a numbers game for us. I don’t remember too many clubs, if any, having six 17-year-olds on their bench. At the weekend a couple of them got on and it’s evident that these lads have done well in stages, coming in and training with the first team.

“I’ll always be someone who gives opportunity and you see some teams around the country who just run with two or three subs and don’t give that experience even to be part of the group.

“That’s not what we believe in here.”

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