Brian Easton is on the “final stretch” of his long recovery from injury, St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has reported.
The full-back hasn’t played for over a year but his workload has increased since Saints returned from their winter break and that will continue to be the case until he is ready to play again.
“Brian Easton will step up what he is doing,” said Wright.
“He is involved with the group more and more often.
“The good thing is, everything we’ve asked him to do in terms of stepping it up, he has been positive. He really is in that final stretch.”
Murray Davidson will miss Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie with Hamilton Accies but should be available soon after.
“Training has been good since we’ve come back,” said Wright. “We did reasonably well in the bounce game against Dundee.
“Everyone got game time so hopefully match sharpness won’t be a problem. The players won’t have lost much anyway.
“Liam Gordon got a bit of a knock but will be fine. Zander Clark had a wee niggle and I’ll keep him out of training at the start of the week, but he’ll return later in the week.
“Murray Davidson is still out and obviously Drey Wright. Drey was seeing a consultant today so we will get an update on him.
“It will probably be another couple of weeks for Murray. The thing with bone bruising is that it’s difficult to put a figure on it.
“But he has responded well to treatment and everything that he is doing has been good. Blair Alston will return to training this week.”
Meanwhile, talks with players Wright is hoping to tie down on extended contracts are “moving along nicely.”
“I’ve been consistent with what I want from this window and what the chairman wants from the window,” he said.
“We’ve spoken to and are speaking to a few at the minute. Those who are out of contract, we want their contracts signed.
“We want two or three to extend and they are moving along nicely.
“And I would like at least one fresh face in. Hopefully we will be close to that this week.
“Like any manager, if we feel we can get someone in who can better the team and the squad then we’ll do it. We think we can achieve that.
“The other thing is that if we get one or two that we identify, maybe on pre-contracts, we’re planning for next season as well.
“The plan is ongoing and the chunk of the work for us is re-signing and extensions.
“That is the majority of the work we’re doing at the minute, but also looking to bring that one in or two in.”
Ex-Saint Michael O’Halloran has been reported to be a January target, with Inverness Caley Thistle midfielder Liam Polworth understood to be a possible pre-contract recruit.
“There are always rumours,” said Wright. “How we do business is that we don’t really talk publicly about what we’re doing.
“We do things the right way if we’re looking to sign someone on a pre-contract. We’ll notify the club.
“I know plenty out there who don’t do it that way.
“There are obviously players we’re being linked to but it’s only fair that I only make comment when something actually happens.”