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Hamilton boss Brian Rice ‘might have to gamble’ on new signing

Rangers v St Mirren – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Craig Foy)

Brian Rice admits he may have to make a deadline-day gamble after seeing the coronavirus put the brakes on his regular spying raids south of the border.

The Hamilton boss estimates he can clock up to 50,000 miles a year scouting potential transfer targets.

But he was prevented from kicking the tyres on signing candidates for much of this year because of travel restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Rice has done a deal to sign Hibernian youngster Ben Stirling this week – with the defender in contention to make his debut against his former club at Easter Road on Friday night – but hopes to make one final addition before the transfer window shuts on Monday.

However, with the current ban on fans entering stadiums also taking a toll on Accies’ finances, Rice is aware he does not have cash to waste.

“I’ve been actively looking since we came back,” he said. “There’s an area I’d like to strengthen but it’s very difficult. Finances are very tough at every club.

“It’s just a question of finding the right person and character to come into our club.

“I’m really looking everywhere. I’ve got all my contacts searching too so we can identify the right target.

“However, with the current circumstances, you only get one chance at it. It does boil down to finances. We know the market we’re looking in. I can’t go sign somebody from the English Championship or League One permanently.

“So we have to identify areas that are affordable. It may be a loan from some place or a contact I have at a club may help us out a little bit.

“But it’s very, very difficult.

“The real frustration I’ve got is that I need to go see the players in action. I don’t like bringing in somebody blind.

“I like to go see them, even up to 10 times, to get a feel for them but it’s only just recently I’ve been able to get up and down to England to watch some games.

“Normally by this time I’d have been down there a lot. How many miles do I clock up a year? I’m not sure but anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000.

“But this time round it’s been so difficult.

“I don’t want to gamble on somebody. I want to make sure the person I get in is the correct person.

“Maybe I might have to gamble this time because I haven’t put the same number of miles in. It might come to it on the last day where I have to decide if it’s a gamble we’re prepared to take. But with the financial situation I’m not sure.”