Craig Conway is closing in on a first Premiership start, Callum Davidson has revealed, as the St Johnstone manager assesses who should replace the suspended Michael O’Halloran against Aberdeen on Saturday.
The Perth boss is mulling over whether to go with the veteran winger in his front three formation, with Stevie May and Tanto Olaofe other options.
Chris Kane and John Robertson are sidelined through injury but Davidson hasn’t ruled out altering his 5-2-3 system in the wake of O’Halloran’s Tannadice red card.
Speaking before news broke that two Aberdeen players had tested positive for Covid-19 and that the Dons squad will be short of eight players, he said: “It’s good to have options with the energy that the front players expend.
“The way we play I need to make changes and I’ve got the players there to do that.
“It might even be tactically tweaking things rather than just a straight replacement. We’ll wait and see what I do on Saturday.”
Conway only came on for a brief run-out against his old club last weekend. The unique circumstances of football’s shutdown and now restart complicate the decision of when to introduce him to the Saints starting XI.
“Craig’s season finished at the same time as us so he’s only had the 10 days or so training here,” said Davidson.
“With him it’s about finding the right balance between game-time and training time and bringing him on at the right point.
“He’s definitely getting closer to a start. The extra week has helped him. It’s been a hard week’s training.
“We’re monitoring him properly so we judge it right.”
If Dons’ boss Derek McInnes selects Bruce Anderson up front in his team (and he isn’t one of the coronavirus eight) Davidson will know all about his attributes, having worked with the striker at Dunfermline.
Struggling to get into the game against Rangers was not an accurate barometer of his capabilities.
“He’s a good young player who is getting his opportunity,” said the Perth boss. “That was a really tough game for him.
“Rangers were that good. But he’s got an eye for a goal and he’ll be wanting to prove himself.
“At Dunfermline he worked really hard for the team. We had a run of winning five games in a row and he was excellent during that.”
Meanwhile, Davidson’s predecessor is set for a swift return to McDiarmid Park. Tommy Wright is expected to be a Sky Sports pundit for the live TV match.
“We’re friends and it was that way when I was assistant as well,” said Davidson. “It will be good to see him if he’s over.”