Livingston considered bringing Marvin Bartley out of retirement as Brexit impacts recruitment

David Martindale revealed he has considered bringing assistant manager Marvin Bartley out of retirement to help Livingston through their tough start to the season.

Livingston assistant manager Marvin Bartley has remained in the dugout with head coach David Martindale this season (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Livingston assistant manager Marvin Bartley has remained in the dugout with head coach David Martindale this season (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The Lions have won only one of their eight cinch Premiership matches so far and have been ravaged by injury problems.

Former club captain Bartley, 35, was a linchpin of the team until the end of last season but chose to step away from playing in order to focus on his coaching duties.

The Englishman planned to make himself available only in an emergency and Martindale admits he has been tempted to ask the midfielder to step back into the breach as a defender.

Several players are now returning from injury, however, easing the manager's need to call on the veteran for now.

Martindale said: "With Marvin, yes, there has been a temptation to bring him back in. But, for me, Marvin's a central midfielder and that's probably an area of the park where we are doing okay. Jason Holt's been fantastic for me in there. I have only been playing with one number six and two number eights, and Marvin for me is a number six.

"I've toyed with Marvin going back into centre-half on occasions. He played there for me in pre-season and he did extremely well so we have touched on it and I have spoken to Marvin about it, but Sean Kelly has now recovered from his rib injury and Tom Parkes is now training so we've probably got a bit more availability in the centre-half area of the park. But I have spoken to Marvin about it."

Martindale - whose side visit St Johnstone on Saturday - feels Livingston have not been helped by the fact Brexit has made it harder to recruit players from overseas.

He said: "I hate talking about budgets but I've got to because you've got to put it in perspective. For five seasons this club has been on an upwards trajectory since the League One days. But when you're in the Premiership it's hard and you do hit a ceiling.

"When you're getting outspent at every turn it's very difficult attracting players who will make you better. We try and bring in players who we can develop and progress.

"If you look at our recruitment, it's probably League One and Championship in Scotland and then League Two in England we predominantly sign from.

"Brexit hasn't helped our recruitment strategy. We'd have probably been sitting with about 33 per cent of our squad coming from the foreign/European market. The French, Swiss, Belgians, Africans, I always feel you get a very good technical player from those markets but we've not got that market to choose from any more because of Brexit so it really narrows down the pool of players we can recruit from.

"Financially even most of League Two in England probably pay a little bit more than us so then you're looking at non-league in England. I don't think there are any clubs in the Scottish Premiership recruiting in the same markets as us, which puts it in perspective."

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