St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon could make his long-awaited comeback at Kilmarnock after overcoming a minor setback – but the Canada international will only feature if circumstances dictate.
Wotherspoon is nearing a return from the cruciate ligament damage he sustained during the Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic in November last year.
The former Hibernian player suffered an unrelated knock in a reserve game last week but has returned to training ahead of Wednesday’s cinch Premiership encounter at Rugby Park.
Wotherspoon could be on the bench but is unlikely to feature on the artificial surface.
Manager Callum Davidson said: “David is a difficult one because part of his rehab is to complete a 90-minute game before he comes back (into the first team), for his sharpness, fitness and confidence. We haven’t managed to do that yet but he has trained hard.
“He had to come off in the last game. He is there or thereabouts. We will only bring him on if we really, really need to. He will be in the squad but I’m not sure he will feature.”
The 32-year-old is eager to get back as soon as possible as he bids to force his way into Canada’s World Cup squad, having won 10 caps.
Davidson said: “David is such a key player, he was before the injury. He needs to get back to those levels again. He is working really hard to get there and obviously wants to get back into the Canada squad.
“This wee injury he got in the reserve game probably put him back a week or two but he is still pushing hard to be fully fit. David is an extremely hard worker and is desperate to get back.”
Davidson will not be overly influenced by Wotherspoon’s Qatar hopes when working out when to reintroduce him.
“It’s a difficult one because if the team keep winning it’s going to be difficult for him to get in the team,” he said. “But I know David well and his attitude is fantastic.
“I have got to make sure he is 100 per cent right. I do want David to get in the Canadian squad, 100 per cent, but at the same time I don’t want to push David back in too early when it could be detrimental to the rest of his career because he still has a long career left. It’s about trying to strike the right balance.”
Saints have taken seven points from their last three games ahead of their trip to Ayrshire and Davidson believes the upturn in form has been built from the back.
“People say scoring goals is the key but for me it’s being solid,” he said. “We have a really good platform just now, we are working well as a unit. It’s a new back five I have put in place this season and for me it’s the confidence we can go forward and attacking knowing that the back door is pretty solid.”