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St Johnstone V Inverness CT at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

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26 Apr 2013 17:31:20

St Johnstone V Inverness CT at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

St Johnstone V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Hasselbaink: I need to play

Frustrated St Johnstone striker Nigel Hasselbaink has told Perth boss Steve Lomas to start playing him or let him leave in the summer.

The former Hamilton and St Mirren attacker moved to McDiarmid Park a year ago but has started just twice for Lomas' team since the turn of the year.

Of his 38 appearances for Saints, 21 have come from the bench and the Dutchman admits he is growing frustrated.

Now the 22-year-old says he may have to move on in the summer if he cannot convince his Northern Irish manager of his talents.

Hasselbaink told Press Association Sport: "I just want to play at a higher level and work on more of my strengths. That's why I came here to Saints.

"But I know I need to play more games. The boys are great and it's a good club - I've enjoyed my time here.

"However, for myself, I'd like to have played more games and the gaffer knows that. It's his decision and I have to respect that. I have to keep training hard and try to change his mind.

"I just need a chance. The gaffer knows what I can do but it's up to him. The hardest thing to do as a player is to change a manager's mind.

"It is hard for any player not to play, not just me. It's been a difficult time because I haven't started games for weeks.

"I don't know what is the right thing to do. Do I need to stay here because I have a year left on my contract, or does the gaffer have other plans for me?

"I spoke to him in the winter but I haven't spoken to him about what will happen in the summer. I think I will have to go speak to him in the next couple of weeks and see what the plans are because if he is not going to use me, maybe it's better if we split ways.

"I'll go my way and he can go with the players he is going to use.

"There's no hard feelings. The gaffer is a good guy and it's a good club. I don't have a problem with anyone here. I just want to play."

Lomas will be able to include Liam Craig in his team for the make-or-break clash with Inverness as the midfielder returns from suspension.

The Hibernian-bound player sat out last Sunday's 2-2 draw with Ross County but is available for the weekend meeting with Terry Butcher's third-placed side as the Saints look to reign in a four-point gap and pinch the Highlanders' Europa League slot as the SPL moves into its final four games of the season.

Murray Davidson may miss out with an ankle injury while long-term absentees David Robertson and Jamie Adams remain on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Inverness manager Terry Butcher has predicted a "titanic battle" with fellow Europa League hopefuls Saints.

The sides have produced three draws in their previous meetings this season and only four points separate them with Caley Thistle occupying the crucial third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League ahead of their trip to Perth.

Ahead of the televised noon showdown, Butcher said: "It's set for a titanic battle. I'm sure it will be uncompromising and tough, but both teams are well capable of playing some good football.

"Both teams have players who can be match-winners.

"Meaty, I think I would call it. It could be potentially very meaty. Not for the faint-hearted.

"It's two teams scrapping it out, going toe to toe. It's last-man standing in a way.

"It's a great game to look forward to. St Johnstone last year got Europe and want a repeat of that. We're in uncharted territory.

"If we play the way we like to play and get stuck in as well and match St Johnstone's physical attributes, then we have players who can win games as well."

Inverness defender Gary Warren is out of the clash.

The centre-back returned from a knee injury ahead of schedule against Celtic last weekend, but was forced off early in the second half.

Ryan Esson and Simon King remain out, but Chris Hogg is pushing for action after a serious knee injury.


PA

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