Scott Tanser eases St Johnstone's Euro defensive worries
With Keith Watson and Steven Anderson out of the first qualifying round first leg against Lithuanians FK Trakai through injury and Tam Scobbie departed to Dundee United, Saints were left with only three fit and experienced defenders in Richard Foster, Brian Easton and Joe Shaughnessy.
Tanser, a 22-year-old who has made almost 70 first-team appearances with Port Vale and Rochdale, has been registered with Uefa and is just waiting for international clearance from the Football Association.
Wright said: “I’m very pleased because it’s a position we needed covered. He has been in for a week and done very well and I think he’ll provide real competition for Brian. He’s got quite a bit of experience in League One and with only having four experienced defenders it was important that we got someone in.”
Tanser added: “As soon as I got the call I was interested. I have a lot of family up here and feel very comfortable here.
“It’s an exciting time to come up. Hopefully everything gets sorted and even to be involved would be a massive step for me. I am excited to get out there and play.” Wright has urged his team to take the initiative against Trakai after admitting they were like a “rabbit in the headlights” in a first-leg home clash with Spartak Trnava three years ago when the Slovakians scored the first two goals at McDiarmid Park before eventually progressing 3-2 on aggregate.
“We have got to learn from previous experiences,” Wright added. “We played Spartak Trnava at home first and that game in particular we didn’t know what tempo to play at and what to do because the first leg was at home.
“We have to make sure we can put them under as much pressure from the first whistle and make the game difficult for them. I don’t think they, having looked at their league, will have come up against a team that plays at the tempo.
“They liked to pass it about but I have watched a lot of their games and teams sort of sit off them and let them play and we certainly won’t be doing that.”
Wright, left, dismissed any fears over fitness issues against a side who sit second in their league after 16 matches, but he warned against taking the visitors lightly.
“I know everybody probably expects us to win but, as has been proved in the past, these ties aren’t easy,” he said. “On paper we are favourites, there is no doubt the SPL is a stronger league than their league, but they are a side who are playing with a fair degree of confidence.
“They are on a good run. Having watched them, they concede very few goals. They don’t score that many but they are well organised and technically they have got some very good players.”