St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has expressed his desire to prolong Dundee United striker Brian Graham’s stay in Perth beyond his current loan deal.
The 27-year-old, on loan from Tannadice until the end of the season, has helped to fill the gap left by Stevie May at McDiarmid Park and netted his sixth goal of the campaign in the 1-0 win over Inverness on Saturday.
Wright has been happy with his contribution to Saints’ cause thus far and admitted he would be keen to keep hold of the former Raith man if a deal can be worked out.
“Obviously we’re planning for next season and within that we’re looking at players we currently have,” he explained.
“We’re hoping to have a couple of deals done on that front and we are looking at targets for this window and for next season.
“So that’s ongoing, and Brian is a player who has done well so we would like to keep him.
“But it will be up to what Brian wants as well.
“The thing is that we’re getting everybody back fit and the squad is looking healthy again.
“We’re starting to look really strong again.”
Under the terms of his agreement, Graham will be unable to play against parent club United when the two sides meet tomorrow, but Wright continued: “We knew that when we signed Brian.
“He’s working extremely hard and he’s chipping in with his goals.
“We know a few of them were penalties but they’ve had to be scored.
“So I’m really pleased with him and when I get Steven MacLean, James McFadden, him, Chris Kane, I’ll be looking quiet healthy up front.”
Saints decided against appealing the two-game ban offered to Graham after the SFA charged the striker with diving to win his penalty on Saturday, and that means he will also be forced to sit out the January 1 game at Aberdeen as well as this weekend’s clash against United.
Festive fixtures usually mean healthier than usual attendances as supporters take advantage of time off if they have it, and the fact that tomorrow’s match is a Tayside derby is only likely to add to a sense of occasion.
“The fact Dundee United are going so well and the fact it’s a holiday period game means there will be a big crowd,” Wright noted.
“We’re on a great run so you would think that would boost us as well.
“It will be a tough game but they are all tough.
“Inverness was tough. Don’t tell me the Ross County game wasn’t tough. The Kilmarnock game was tough.
“There are no easy games and literally you just have to deal with what’s ahead of you, and that’s what we’ll do.
“We had a lot of possession the last time we played United but we didn’t really create enough chances with it.
“I think we’re in a better place in terms of how we’re doing individually, so we’ll go into the game with a fair degree of confidence.
“But like any time we play the likes of Dundee United or Aberdeen, clubs like that, they will be favourites and we’ll always be the underdogs.”