Callum Davidson is optimistic a breakthrough has been made in contract talks with a number of his St Johnstone players.
Many in the Perth squad only have a few weeks left on their current deals but the Saints boss is hopeful that will be a smaller group by next week.
“Two or three are pretty close to agreeing,” Davidson reported.
“We are working on a few more and it’s still ongoing all the time.
“There are a lot of positive signs there and I’d like to think after this week we’ll have some good news.”
Saints are faced with the daunting challenge of ending Rangers’ unbeaten league record on Wednesday night and then knocking Steven Gerrard’s men out of the Scottish Cup at Ibrox on Sunday.
But recent squad rotation at McDiarmid Park means Davidson’s side are in good fettle to take on the task.
They’re all ready for these next matches against Rangers.
“I’ve been really pleased that virtually all my players have got near enough 90 minutes of football over the last couple of games,” he said.
“They’re all ready for these next matches against Rangers.
“It will be really important how we perform in the first one. If we play well it will give us confidence going into the quarter-final.”
Glenn Middleton won’t be able to play against his parent club but Michael O’Halloran will be match-sharp if required after starring in Saints’ weekend cup win against Clyde.
“Mikey has trained really well so I wanted everyone to get as close to 90 minutes as possible,” said Davidson.
“We knew it would be a tough week this week so wanted everyone up to speed for it.
“It’s disappointing Glenn won’t be able to play but that’s what happens when you take players on loan.”
It’s been three defeats out of three for Saints against Rangers this season but the Betfred Cup champions came closest to drawing in the last of those matches, a 1-0 defeat in February.
Davidson said: “What do we need to do? We need Rangers to have an off day, we get a bit of luck to score in the 91st minute then the whistle blows!
“Seriously, though, I think we have conceded goals at bad times against them this season in the three games so far.
“We have allowed them to score cheap goals from giving away poor free-kicks so we need to eradicate that from our game.
“There are wee things we can do to put pressure on them but we know it’s going to be tough.
“We are playing with confidence, we work hard from the front and that has allowed the defenders to step in and make better decisions.
“If you lose that intensity at the front of the pitch then it makes it harder for defenders so it’s about the whole team as a unit.
“We have been pretty good most of the season and if we can continue doing that, not give cheap goals away, then hopefully we can get something.
“Rangers have got a really strong formation that can be tweaked. That makes them a very difficult team to play against.
“We’ve got to come up with something slightly different to get a result.”
Even though the ‘invincible’ tag will continue to drive Rangers on through what’s left of the 2020/21 Premiership campaign, Davidson knows that his opposite number can mix and match without risk of standards dropping.
“The league is obviously won but going unbeaten means they have still got something to fight for,” he said.
“It will make it easy for the manager to keep them motivated. They’ll want to keep their habit of getting good results.
“Even if he’s got a few injuries, he still has a very strong squad to pick from.
“You just need to look at young Nathan Patterson. It’s a credit to him that they haven’t really missed James Tavernier, who has been the best player in Scotland.”
Davidson, a former Scotland defender, agrees that Patterson has the look of an international full-back in the making.
He said. “It’s funny, when you go back to my time there was maybe a lack of left-backs.
“Now we’ve got loads of top quality left-backs and the right side is more of an issue.
“If he can keep developing, we’ve got a very good right-sided defender coming through to join the players who are in that position just now.”
Craig Conway missed out at the weekend with a groin strain. He could be available on Wednesday but, if not, should be fine for Sunday.
And Murray Davidson should be back in full training next week.