TOMMY Wright faces a race against time to be back in harness before next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final with Aberdeen.
But St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown has warned his single-minded manager to put his health before football.
Wright underwent gall bladder surgery on Thursday and has been detained at Perth Royal Infirmary over the weekend. With the boss in a hospital bed, assistant Callum Davidson and coach Alec Cleland take charge of the team for today’s top-six crunch clash with Hibs and Tuesday’s trip to face St Mirren.
Brown said: “Tommy has to think about his health. Knowing the type of guy he is I have no doubt Tommy will think he can get back to work quickly but he has a 15cm wound from the surgery and the doctors will keep him right.
“Missing out on games will drive him nuts. He won’t like it one little bit. It goes against the grain. But he doesn’t have a lot of choice. He can’t be taking training in his condition. There is life beyond football.
“Obviously it would be great if the team could deliver the win against Hibs to secure our top-six place. That would be a great tonic for him and ease the pressure he feels to get back amongst it.
“Tommy is under no pressure to get back to work. I suspect he probably fancied his chances of going to the Hibs game one way or another. But that wasn’t on. We’ll see what the doctors say when he gets out.
“I know the cup semi-final will be on Tommy’s mind. That’s a different kettle of fish. The Aberdeen game is on 13 April and he will definitely want to be involved before that.”
David Wotherspoon insists Saints are focusing all their energies on a top-six finish before thinking again about cup glory. Ahead of today’s game, the midfielder said: “It’s the biggest game of the season and we’re working towards getting the three points to secure the top-six place.
“That was the aim at the start of the season, and to do well in the cups. We want to get that top-six place sorted and move on to the cup semi-final.”
Struggling Hibs, four points behind Saints and having played a game more, have won once in their last 11 games but Wotherspoon is discounting that poor form. He said: “We went through a similar spell when we didn’t get the results we wanted but I’m sure they’ll pick themselves up. It’s a massive match and I’m sure they’ll be fired up for it. But they’ll have to be on their A-game because we’re confident at home.”