Jim Goodwin admits St Mirren are still five players short after seeing his new side slump to defeat on his return to Paisley.
The former Alloa boss has inherited a squad from Oran Kearney with only 14 recognised first-team players.
The threadbare nature of his line-up was exposed on the Irishman's first competitive game in charge as Dunfermline claimed a shock 3-2 Betfred Cup triumph at the Simple Digital Arena.
It was not the start the former Buddies captain was hoping for, with the ovation he received before kick-off replaced by groans at full-time.
Goodwin has already added Tony Andreu and Oan Djorkaeff to his group but admits that is not enough.
A deal for Go Ahead Eagles striker Thomas Verheydt is close but the Saints boss has confessed more are needed.
"We're obviously working hard behind the scenes to get more players in," he said. "I do believe there is a good quality of player here at the moment but we are short on numbers, there's no doubt about it.
"We've only had about 10 sessions with the lads through the last couple of weeks so we're not the finished article, we know that.
"Any Premiership squad needs about 20 bodies. We've been lucky enough to add Tony Andreu and Djorkaeff and we're close with another couple and hopefully, we'll have a bit of news next week.
"But I think we probably need another four or five."
Saints were all at sea in defence as Ryan Dow, Andy Ryan and Tom Beadling all took advantage during a first-half blitz.
Cody Cooke and Danny Mullen pulled two back after the break but it was not enough to prevent Stevie Crawford's Fifers storming to the top of Group H.
The Pars boss is quietly confident his side are in for a better campaign than last year's scrape with the Championship relegation battle.
He said: "I'm too long in the tooth to guarantee games like that every week but if we can get the balance right between experience and youthful energy then hopefully there will be more exciting games to come this season."