Callum Davidson has told midfield hopefuls Charlie Gilmour and Cammy Balantyne to “step up” and claim a place in his St Johnstone side.
The Perth side travel to face Hibs on Sunday determined to extend an impressive unbeaten run at Easter Road.
They will do so carrying injuries to engine room stars Murray Davidson, Craig Bryson and Cammy MacPherson.
But the Saints’ boss, who gave Gilmour a brief run from the bench against Dundee, insists his fringe men now have a chance to play their way into his thoughts.
“Charlie and Cammy Ballantyne are two young players pushing to play,” said Davidson.
“Charlie missed the first month of the season which has probably been detrimental to him. That is when I see players and they gain my trust.
“But I have been really pleased with him and there is an opportunity there given the number of midfielders we have out just now. It is up to them to step up to the mark.”
Sunday’s clash with Hibs is a re-run of May’s Scottish Cup final, when the Perth side claimed a 1-0 win and a fourth successive clean sheet against the capital club.
Unbeaten at Easter Road
Saints have not lost at Easter Road since January 2016.
But Davidson insists that will not be a factor for his side.
“Our track record at Easter Road won’t come into our minds. Definitely not,” insisted the Saints manager.
“Hibs have a really strong squad. They’ve made some good additions and managed to hold onto some key players as well.
“They are probably in a stronger position than they were last season.
“It is going to be a tough game but we are up for the fight. We enjoy these games where we go to play in Edinburgh.
“It is good to have Hearts back in the league as well. They are great places to go and play your football. We are looking forward to it.”
Other injury news
The strength in depth at McDiarmid has been underlined by positive results secured despite injuries to key personnel.
Defender James Brown suffered a setback when he tweaked a hamstring against Dundee. He is side-lined for 10 days and midfielder Murray Davidson’s back injury is troubling him.
And Liam Gordon is also set for more time on the side lines.
“Liam Gordon had his scan and it was good. But this knee injury it’s an unusual one,” said Davidson.
“It’s important not to rush him. We can’t afford to push him too quickly and risk damaging it.”