St Johnstone defender Liam Gordon could return from injury quicker than expected, manager Tommy Wright has revealed.
It had been expected that the centre-back, who twisted his knee in training at the start of October, would be unavailable until Saints’ match against Kilmarnock on December 4 at the earliest.
However, Gordon is now back on the training pitch and Wright has pencilled in a possible comeback against Motherwell a week on Saturday.
“Liam has been doing a fair bit of work and we are hoping to have him back in full training by the middle of the week,” the Perth boss reported.
“The original plan was he would be back for the Kilmarnock game but if everything comes along fine then he should return for Motherwell.”
Saints were linked at the weekend with a short-term move for former Celtic and Hibs defender Efe Ambrose, currently a free agent, but Wright pointed out: “I said we would be looking at experienced defenders to add to the squad so it’s no surprise that we are linked with people.
“If you bring someone else in they have to be fit because there is no point bringing someone in and it taking them a few weeks to get fit.
“So if someone was coming in, then they’d have to be ready to go within seven to 10 days.”
Meanwhile, Wright believes a lack of “wriggle room” will make the idea of an SPFL shutdown before Scotland’s March play-offs a non-starter.
“I attend the meetings they have with the managers and they always tell us the fixture list has no wriggle room in it,” he explained.
“That’s the message we get every time and looking at it selfishly, from my club’s point of view, I don’t know how it would work.
“We already have two games to fit in after the January break because Celtic and Rangers are in the Betfred Cup final.
“So if another one was moved, that would be three games extra and two still to rearrange.
“Given what they tell us about the fixture list, I don’t see how that can happen.
“I want to see Scottish clubs do well in Europe and the Scottish national team qualify for the Euros.
“But there is a major problem with the fixture list.
“What we have is stop-start from August through to this week and then a mad dash in December where teams play six games in a month.
“It doesn’t feel like the season really starts properly until this round of international games are out of the way.
“Then once the Christmas period is over, you have the winter break for a few weeks so everything is condensed again after it.
“I think we have something like five games in 12 days after the break.!
Wright added: “Does the winter break work for us? It makes no difference to me because we won’t be heading off to Dubai for a week!
“There are enough breaks in the season for fatigue because of so many internationals.
“Do we really need to have a winter break? That’s something the clubs would have to decide.
“So as much as it’s a good idea to give the players a break before Scotland’s play-off, someone would have to set out how it’s workable.”