St Mirren V Hearts at St Mirren Park : Match Preview
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Buddies future unsure for Lennon
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon does not believe Saturday's home Scottish Premiership clash with Hearts will have any bearing on his future at the Paisley club.
Chairman Stewart Gilmour and fellow directors will tell their boss early next week if they will be renewing his contract, a revelation which has served only to further fuel speculation which has been growing in recent weeks.
Lennon, who guided the Buddies to League Cup final success in 2013, could lead the Paisley club to their highest top-flight finish since 1989 if they move one place up the table into seventh in the last game of the season.
However, when asked if the result against the relegated Jambos should make a difference to the board's thinking either way, the former Cowdenbeath boss, who has a fully fit squad at his disposal, said: "I don't think so. But I have no idea where their heads are at this moment in time.
"I know where mine is and that is focusing on finishing the season on a high.
"I know where I want to be but I can't get inside five people's heads.
"They have to, first and foremost, do what they feel is right for St Mirren Football Club.
"I would love the opportunity to build upon the foundations we have built here.
"Over the last four years we have given the club their best period in over a generation in terms of keeping them in the top flight.
"We have also brought through seven kids and five of those are regular starts and outwith Hearts, who have been forced to play (youngsters), there is no other club who has done that this season.
"A manager needs time to reap the seeds he has sown and I would love the opportunity.
"But that's a decision our board of directors have to make. It is up to them to decide if I have merited a new contract or if they want to gamble going with a new face.
"That can work both ways. Four years ago they took a gamble with me and that paid off."
Lennon, appearing at Renfrewshire Head Injury Service's Sunshine Club in Paisley, supporting Head Injury Information Day which takes place next week, urged his players to keep going to the final whistle of the final fixture.
"Our season is not finished and it won't be finished until after the game," he said.
"We have unfinished business. We want to achieve something this club hasn't done in over 25 years and finish in seventh position. So there is a lot to play for "
Hearts manager Gary Locke insists St Mirren's indecision on handing Lennon a fresh deal is "baffling".
He said: "I cannot understand the speculation about Danny's future.
"He has kept them in the league again, won them a trophy last season - what more can Danny do?
"If St Mirren had been relegated, you could understand it. But he has secured their safety and if you are being realistic, keeping St Mirren in the Premiership is a fantastic achievement.
"As well as that, they had that great run to the final where they beat us last year. Allied to that, they have brought through some great young players too.
"I just find it all baffling."
Like Lennon, Locke is still waiting for news on his own future with just days left on his Tynecastle deal.
The former skipper has yet to discuss terms with the already-relegated Gorgie side's chairwoman-in-waiting Ann Budge ahead of the completion of her takeover deal.
But he said: "The situation has not changed but hopefully things will get moving shortly and we will all get our futures sorted out."
Hearts will travel to Paisley hoping to end the season within the 15-point margin they were fined for going into administration in a last show of defiance to their top-flight rivals before dropping into the Championship.
But they will have to do it without Jamie Hamill after the midfielder landed an extra three-game ban - with one suspended - for flattening County boss Derek Adams with a shoulder barge last month.
Locke is unhappy with the punishment dished out by the Scottish Football Association's disciplinary panel but will not argue Hamill's case further.
Locke said: "No we won't be appealing. We're disappointed because the referee dealt with it at the time.
"You could open a can of worms with all this because Willie Collum made his decision on the pitch. Quite rightly he sent Jamie off, because it was a moment of stupidity.
"But now after the game we are going back and Jamie is getting further punishment. I'm not happy about that but we won't appeal it."