New Motherwell gaffer Robbo faces selection headache against Saints

Stephen Robinson is thrilled to be the new Motherwell FC manager
Stephen Robinson is thrilled to be the new Motherwell FC manager
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New Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson faces the nightmare prospect of SIX key men missing this Saturday’s crucial home game against St Johnstone.

Robinson (42), who was appointed yesterday, knows that long term injury victims Richard Tait and Stephen McManus will definitely miss out along with suspended centre half Ben Heneghan.

And Zak Jules, Scott McDonald and Steven Hammell are all injury doubts for a crunch match which is key to Motherwell’s hopes this season.

“Zak hasn’t trained again all week,” Robinson said.

“He’s got a problem with his knee. It just requires the international break to get a little bit of rest.

“Scotty’s the same – he just needs a little bit of rest.

“We’ll look at both of those again tomorrow.

“Ben Heneghan is suspended and Steven Hammell we’re waiting on a last minute decision for as well.

“So it’s not ideal but we’ll deal with it, we’ll get on with it and we’re hopeful we’ll get them on the pitch on Saturday.”

Robinson said he expects a tough game against fifth placed Saints, who are having another solid campaign under fellow Northern Irish gaffer Tommy Wright.

“Tommy’s got them well organised,” added Robbo, whose lengthy playing career included spells at Tottenham Hotspur, Leyton Orient, Bournemouth, Preston North End, Bristol City and Luton Town.

“He’s got them in the top half of the table every season, he’s done fantastic.

“It’s going to be a tough game. I don’t think there will be any surprises with how they play.

“They have a threat up front.

“First and foremost we must show that energy and desire that St Johnstone will come and show and then show that we have that added quality which perhaps we’ve lacked at times in the last two games.”

Robinson also outlined his happiness at taking over a club dear to his heart.

“I’m delighted,” Robinson said. “I’m absolutely delighted that it’s been sorted and we can move forward now and make sure we start put results on the table.

“To be working for this club is a great honour for me. It’s got a great history and tradition and there are a lot of good people around the football club that we owe performances to.”

Robinson – sacked as Oldham Athletic gaffer in January – said that getting to know the Motherwell players well in his previous roles as assistant manager and laterly interim manager would make his job easier.

The Northern Irishman said that keeping third bottom Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership is the “be all and end all” this season.

“We have got good characters here,” Robinson said.

“If they show the quality and desire they have done in the last two games we’ll be OK,” added Robbo.

Robinson, the 24th different boss to lead Motherwell in its 131-year history, said he’d learned a lot from Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill whom he assisted when the Green and White Army reached the last 16 of the Euros last summer.