St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson admits he is going to have to rely more heavily on Tony Watt in the coming weeks as fellow striker Alex Greive faces an injury lay-off.
New Zealand forward Greive was forced off in the first half of Saturday’s Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic and is now preparing for a spell on the sidelines.
Greive’s absence leaves Curtis Main and January signing Watt, who has started only one match since October, as the only senior strikers available to Robinson as the Buddies bid to step up their pursuit of a top-six place.
“We haven’t had scan results back but we’re fearing it’s going to be a length of time with Alex which leaves us with just two first-team centre-forwards,” said the Saints boss. “We’ll just have to get on with that and see how we go.
“We’ve lost four strikers now if you include Eamonn (Brophy) and Toyosi (Olusanya) going out on transfer deadline day and then Jonah (Ayunga) and Alex getting injured.
“It seems to always be the way when you’ve got a small squad, you get two or three injuries in the same position. We have to run with a small squad unfortunately and I think all squads are the same in that they get stretched to the limit if you get injuries in a certain position.
“We need Tony to get a bit more fitness and game time and that will have to be a little more rushed now with Alex’s injury.
“I’ve worked with Tony before, I know what he can do. He’s a bit short of match practice but I thought he did okay when he came on on Saturday.
“I know what he’s capable of when he’s fully flying. He’s trained really well over the last 10 days and he’s not far away. I’m sure he’ll play an important part in the second half of the season.”
St Mirren visit Robinson’s former club Motherwell on Wednesday, just a few days after the Steelmen sacked manager Steven Hammell and gave Stuart Kettlewell the reins on a caretaker basis.
“Steven’s lost his job and it’s not nice to see,” said Robinson. “We’re all three games from being either rubbish or brilliant. It’s a tough industry, unique in many ways, and I feel for any manager who loses their job but we have to concentrate solely on ourselves.
“My thoughts are solely with St Mirren. If we produce the same level of performance we had at Celtic Park we’ve nothing to fear from anybody.
“We know Motherwell can’t sign any more players so we know what we’re going to face. Stuart will try and implement his own ideas but Motherwell can’t change the players
“Every manager wants to put their own stamp on it so he’ll have to try and do something slightly different and we have to be prepared for that, as we will be.”