Brian Rice has revealed his shock at Sam Stubbs’ departure from Hamilton.
The Accies boss believed the 21-year-old defender would stay on loan from Middlesbrough for the season after joining up last summer.
However, Stubbs returned to Boro at the beginning of the week and then joined Dutch side ADO Den Haag where he will work under Alan Pardew, who became the club’s head coach in December.
“It was a shock to me,” said Rice, who is set to sign 25-year-old attacker Andy Dales on a six-month loan deal from Scunthorpe.
“It came right out the blue.
“I thought he was here to the end of the season. I wasn’t planning for that to happen.
“Sam came to see me on Monday afternoon at 2.45 to explain the situation and by half past three he had left the camp.
“I just wished him all the best. He was fantastic for us but we have been fantastic for him as well.
“Hopefully we can use that to try to get other players and say look, Sam Stubbs came from Middlesbrough played, done well and has got a move to the Dutch Eredivisie.
“But that’s football. You have to take it on the chin and move on.
“I have names of defenders if I need to go and get one. We still have time to look at the situation.”
Rice is in limbo regarding 22-year-old goalkeeper Luke Southwood, who returned to Reading from his short loan spell at Hamilton.
He said: “Luke’s loan expired and he went back to Reading.
“I think that we had an agreement that he was coming back.
“But they have a new manager and he hasn’t seen him.
“He wanted to see him in training and they put him on the bench for the cup game last week against Blackpool.
“So we are very hopeful that Luke will come back but at this moment in time I don’t know if he will or not.”
Asked about reports that Morton want veteran midfielder Darian MacKinnon, Rice said: “There is a bit of interest from a Championship club and I am not surprised.
“Darian has still got a bit to offer and there is no way he is getting chased out the door here.
“He was made aware of the situation and he is still here.
“I don’t know if he is interested in leaving but right now he is here with me.
“He wants to play football and he wants to play here at Hamilton.”