Depending on who you ask, Hibernian should either be targeting a second place finish in…
Hamilton are having a decent season by their standards. Given the resources at their disposal they’d hardly be expected to be challenging for a top six place. Moreover, it’s fair to say that for the past couple of seasons many people tipped Accies as relegation favourites, but they’ve continued to prove their doubters wrong.
They currently sit in ninth although it is extremely tight at the basement end of the Scottish Premiership. So where does Martin Canning’s side need strengthened in order to guarantee survival?
For a team lying only three points off the bottom Hamilton score an impressive number of goals. So far this season they’ve found the back of the net 27 times. Only Celtic (48), Rangers (41), Aberdeen (33) and Hibs (30) have scored more. Whilst this is good news for Martin Canning it also underlines that keeping out goals at the other end is a significant problem.
As the graph above shows, only Ross County and Partick Thistle have conceded more goals in the Premiership this season. In essence, Accies have still been able to pick up points despite conceding a lot goals due to their healthy goalscoring record. However if those goals were to dry up at all they could be in trouble.
That’s why strengthening a leaky defence in January is so important for Hamilton. They possess some great attacking players in David Templeton and Greg Docherty, but they can’t expect to rely on them all season long.
Furthermore, they’ve now lost Georgios Sarris after he was shown the door due to his conduct. Similarly, Giannis Skondras faces a lengthy ban after getting himself involved in a touchline melee against Ross County.
Hamilton have only kept three clean sheets this season. What’s more worrying for the New Douglas Park side is that in eleven games this campaign they’ve conceded two or more goals.
Money is tight and it’s very unlikely much cash with be splashed by Hamilton in January. They didn’t spend any money in the summer and relied on the loan system, free transfers and promoting youth team players. You’d imagine any recruitment to New Douglas Park in January will be of a similar vein. Particularly when you remember the club lost around £750,000 due to fraudsters in October.
Just as a big a coup for Accies will be keeping the likes of David Templeton and Greg Docherty. Templeton is rejuvenated in Lanarkshire and is playing his best football since he was at Hearts many moons ago.
Tying down Dougie Imrie to a new contract is also a good bit of business. In essence, if Canning was able to get one or two reinforcements in the defensive department you’d fancy Hamilton to remain in the Premiership.
Martin Canning has been very quiet about the prospect of any players coming to the club in January. Whether his silence means Hamilton aren’t planning on bringing in any new faces remains to be seen.