St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright yesterday insisted he would not pitch Steven MacLean back into battle if the player did not feel ready to return.
MacLean has made an incredible recovery from knee surgery and has returned to training well ahead of schedule.
And with forward Brian Graham unavailable to face parent club Dundee United under the terms of his loan deal this weekend, the 32-year-old is in line to make his first start since the end of August at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.
That decision will probably be made in the hours before kick-off, although Wright confirmed yesterday that the returning striker will definitely be in his thoughts as he mulls over who will face the Tangerines in the Tayside derby.
“Macca has worked extremely hard and there’s no problem with his fitness,” he noted.
“It’s a similar scenario to when we brought him back last time, so it’s a possibility that he could be used.
“If I viewed it as a gamble I wouldn’t do it.
“If and when we bring him back it will be a three-way thing.
“It’s ultimately my decision but Michael (the physio) and Macca will have their say.
“I know what Macca’s answer is already he just wants to play and if I named him in the squad on Saturday he would have played.
“But he’s done all his work and there’s no problems with his knee.
“His general fitness is good and he’ll certainly be involved over the holiday games.”
If MacLean does feature on Saturday, Wright reckons the forward will give his side an extra dimension.
“He’s a massive influence on the pitch, a massive influence in the dressing room and someone when things aren’t maybe going so well he gets people going around him,” he concluded.
“That’s vocally, and how he plays as well.”