John Needham says St Mirren must balance the books in January but insists club won’t risk derailing top six bid

John Needham insists St Mirren won’t derail their top-six bid by selling off the family silver this winter.

However, the Buddies chairman admits the club do need to balance the books after overstretching their playing budget in the summer.

You are reading: John Needham says St Mirren must balance the books in January but insists club won’t risk derailing top six bid

The Saints bounced into the World Cup break on the back of their best start to a top-flight campaign since 1988.

Having stocked up on players ahead of the 2022/23 season, Needham knows St Mirren may need to shift some fringe squad members on when the transfer window opens in January to ensure they remain sustainable.

But he is adamant the club won’t do anything to cost boss Stephen Robinson the chance of leading them to an elusive top-half finish, last achieved in Paisley in 1985.

Speaking exclusively to Renfrewshire Live Sport, Needham said: “We recruited very well in the summer. We’ve got five full internationals in the team and I can’t remember that ever being the case before at St Mirren.

“That calibre of player gives you confidence and our squad has a bit of steel and resilience about it now. We’re tough to beat, especially at home.

“The squad is a little larger than we planned and we do need to tidy that up in January. We’re not going to do anything stupid. We want to retain our strength, particularly because injuries and suspensions have cost us dearly in recent seasons.

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“We do have players who are likely a bit frustrated, because no player wants to be sat on the bench. It’s very much a balancing act.

“Ultimately, we want to be ambitious. This is our strongest squad in many years and we want to finish as high up the league as we possibly can.”

One player likely to have gained even more suitors this winter is Australia international Keanu Baccus.

Having already featured against world champions France, the 24-year-old may yet pick up more minutes on the world’s biggest stage in the Socceroos’ upcoming clashes with Tunisia and Denmark.

While Needham expects the talented midfielder to reach bigger heights in his career off the back of his time in Qatar, he hopes Baccus will remain in Paisley much longer having already netted the club a tidy six-figure sum for playing at the World Cup through FIFA’s payment scheme.

Needham said: “We’re all absolutely delighted to see Baccus featuring at the World Cup. In all honesty, I didn’t expect him to get minutes against France, that was a real bonus.

“There’s a real sense of pride and it’s absolutely fantastic for the profile of the club.

“He’s such a decent young man and from my conversations with Stephen Robinson about him he’s very coachable as well.

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“He’s a perfect professional who wants to learn all the time.

“The FIFA payment will be a welcome boost, especially as it wasn’t budgeted for. It’s a pity Ryan Strain didn’t make it along too, but I’m sure he’s got just as bright a future as Keanu does.

“It’s definitely part of our strategy now, to bring guys in with potential and give them a platform to develop and shine. Keanu, Ryan and Alex Greive are all great examples of that.

“The key thing for us with Keanu is he makes the most of himself as a professional. Transfer interest will be dealt with if it comes, I know a few clubs have already been mentioned in the press as having an interest.

“We have to enjoy him while he’s here because I think he will go on to greater things down the line.

“I’ve no doubt if he keeps applying himself the way he does he’ll go on to play at a very high level.”

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