RANGERS manager Ally McCoist will meet with the club’s chief executive Charles Green and his directors before the year’s end to learn what his budget will be for new signings.
The club’s embargo on new signings expires on 1 September 2013 and McCoist is hoping to agree pre-contract deals with several targets when the transfer window re-opens in January. However, the number of new faces – and the quality of player he’ll be able to approach – will be determined by the amount of money allocated to him by the Ibrox board.
“Right now we don’t know what league we’re going to be in, although the way things are currently going we’re very hopeful it would be SFL2,” said McCoist, whose side host Annan Athletic tonight. “But we don’t know if there is going to be reconstruction or not. Add the fact we can’t register a player until September and it’s difficult. However, as long as it’s all legal – which obviously it has to be – I will handle the side of selling the club.
“The fact our average home attendance is in the region of 48,000 would indicate it shouldn’t be too difficult to sell home games to people who could be coming. At the same time they’d have to accept there is a rebuilding issue with the club, as part of a long-term project.
“I’m certainly hopeful that the club has enough pull to attract good quality players. The fact that Ian Black and Dean Shiels came straight away was a real boost. They were two of the best players in the SPL and it gave me a boost that boys like that were still willing to come here.
“Hopefully, that’s an indication that we can continue to get that type of player. In an ideal world we would sign Scottish players or at least British players but we’ve got to keep an open mind.”
Consequently, chief scout Neil Murray has been looking at potential signings all over Europe.
“We’re looking all over the place,” said McCoist. “I’m loathe to mention numbers because the last time I did that during a transfer window it didn’t work out too well for me.
“We’re not going to get anyone in who’s eligible to play until September. First, though, we have to look at the kind of budget we’ve got in terms of the kind of player we can get and the numbers we can add to the squad. Hopefully, I’ll find that out in the next few weeks or so. I’ll have a chat with Charles Green and the boys going into the new year to see what kind of budget I’ll have. My understanding is that we can sign players on a pre-contract in January as long as they’re out of contract in the summer – but we can’t register them to play until 1 September.
“It’s possible that we could play them as trialists. I don’t really know the legalities of that but if I can, I will. We’re currently looking at every possibility and eventuality. That has to be done meticulously because you don’t want to make a mistake – and I’m sure there are one or two people who will tell us if we do make one. The important thing from my point of view is that the new boys will be with us for pre-season.”
Promotion remains the priority, however, and now that his team have had five months to acclimatise to life in the Third Division, McCoist expects them to go on and win the title. “I’d hope we now know what to expect from the majority of the opposition,” he said.