Zander Clark will keep his place in the St Johnstone goal for Saturday’s clash with Ross County, Tommy Wright has revealed.
And the Perth boss is confident that giving the young keeper some end-of-season game time won’t cost Alan Mannus his Northern Ireland Euro 2016 place.
“I have spoken to Alan and also to Michael O’Neill about it,” Wright said. “We speak two or three times a week so Michael is aware of the situation. He knows how well Alan has done this season.
“I want my player to go to the Euros but that’s not my primary concern as St Johnstone manager. And the time is right for Zander to get game time.
“I can’t see it affecting Alan’s position for the Euros because of what he has done this season and in previous years. They know all about him from being away with the international squad.
“I can’t predict what will happen but I would imagine Alan will go to the Euros with Northern Ireland.”
On Clark’s promotion to the starting line-up for last Friday’s Aberdeen game and his retention for the Dingwall one, Wright said: “Zander has had to be patient.
“He handled himself well in the Aberdeen game and he will play at Ross County. He has been told he will get a few games under his belt before the end of the season.
“Zander and Alan are both aware of the situation.
“I look on them both as number one keepers because Alan has had another good season.
“We have known for quite some time that Zander is a good goalkeeper. But a very good keeper has kept him out of the team.
“This isn’t a case of Alan being dropped from the team. It’s just a case that Zander deserves an opportunity.
“To be fair I think a wee break will do Alan good, with hopefully the Euros coming up for him in the summer.”
Brian Easton and Danny Swanson will both be back in the squad for the trip to the Highlands, and Murray Davidson also has a chance of playing.
Wright reported:“Murray will be assessed again on Friday and he will play if he trains fully. We will have a better idea within the next 24 hours. But if he was to miss this game he will definitely be ready for next week.
“Danny is training and he will be back in the squad if there is no reaction.
“He had a really bad dead leg, as bad as I have seen. So he took a little bit longer than usual to recover.
“Easty trained on Tuesday and there was no reaction.
“The pressure is off and this should be a good game. We want to repeat the tempo of the match against Aberdeen, with and without the ball.
“There’s still a bit to play for but both teams have had a successful season to get top six.”
Wright has been very impressed by the job done by his opposite number, Jim McIntyre.
“Jim is a worthy candidate for manager of the year,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets the award. He has done well in winning a trophy and taking Ross County into the top six.
“They have had an incredible run dating back to January last year.
“But there are quite a few managers in the top league you could make a case for.
“I think Alan Archibald has had a really good season at Partick Thistle. Robbie Neilson has done well at Hearts and look at Mark McGhee’s record since coming in at Motherwell. They have all had really good seasons.”