Motherwell manager Graham Alexander is aiming to have a new signing before Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup opener against Queen’s Park.

The Fir Park club have had several trialists in throughout pre-season as Alexander looks to add to his squad. He has lost key players like captain Declan Gallagher, top scorer Devante Cole and midfielder Allan Campbell, so far bringing in Connor Shields, Kaiyne Woolery, Kevin Van Veen, Justin Amaluzor and Liam Kelly.

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Kelly is back at Motherwell (Photo by Rachel Holborn – BRFC/Getty Images)

Alexander hopes that one of his several trialists can be registered before the first competitive match of the season: “Hopefully we will have one of the trialists signed by tomorrow, but we might not have. We have offered something to him so hopefully he is registered for tomorrow. That would be good.

“Others are still in the period of being assessed and we are making decisions on them. We might not have the full 20-man squad for tomorrow but I hope that by the start of the league season, we will have. We are delighted with the players we have brought in so far, but we still need to add four or five, at least.


“I think we have to prepare to lose players throughout the season to Covid-19 isolation issues. We have to make sure we have enough players to cover any potential absentees. When you lose really good players, going and getting identical players isn’t exactly what you’re trying to do.

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Needing new recruits. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

“We aren’t going to talk to a player about directly replacing another player. We try and improve on every position we have and that has to be our ambition when we are recruiting. We have to try and improve every aspect.”

Motherwell are also welcoming long-term absentees like Liam Donnelly back from injury, but Alexander admits it’s not a quick solution to filling squad gaps: “Some of these guys haven’t kicked a ball for me in a competitive game, like Liam Donnelly. He played half of a friendly against Millwall on Saturday which was great.

“We have to remind ourselves that he has been out for a very long time (since August 1st, 2020), but when he’s fully fit, he’ll be like a new player. There’s other players like that, Liam Grimshaw. I had him for my first game and not had him since then, which has been difficult. Bevis Mugabi is still doing rehab from his shoulder injury.

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Donnelly is still on the comeback trail. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“He hasn’t taken part in pre-season. We haven’t got the luxury of having a squad of 20 senior players. These players are vitally important to the success of Motherwell so we have to get them back as quickly as possible, but as safe as possible.”

With Gallagher on the move to Aberdeen, Alexander has to pick a new captain for the 2021/22 cinch Premiership season, Stephen O’Donnell taking the armband at times last campaign. Jake Caroll has worn it during pre-season while Tony Watt captained the side sporadically last term, vice-captain Trevor Carson leaving the club this summer too.

He’s not decided on a new leader, but Alexander says he has a shortlist: “I haven’t decided on the captaincy but I have my ideas. There are probably two or three candidates for that and I will make that decision at the right time. But having one standout player like that isn’t healthy, you need four or five at least to be in that mould.”

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