With eight first-team players heading out the door this summer, St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin is not really in any position to be making bold claims.
Tommy Wright argues it is therefore unfortunate that his chief executive, Tony Fitzpatrick, is on hand to deliver them for him.
“Jim is a good manager, someone who is very thorough in the work he does,” said the former manager of the Perth Saints.
“He did well at Alloa in the lower leagues and, having done so, he fully deserved his crack at the Premiership last year.
“He was certainly up to the task. They had an excellent campaign and the key thing was they avoided relegation.
“With the season curtailed because of Covid-19, they finished in ninth position.
“So I don’t think Jim is helped by Tony coming out – as he did a couple of weeks ago – and saying they should be top six.
“That gives Jim added pressure. Although he won’t admit as much, he doesn’t need it. His job is tough enough as it is.
“I have a lot of time for Tony, but he has done this before. A couple of years ago it was top four.
“I can understand that you have to strive to succeed. But at St Johnstone, we never ever said we were going to do this or that.
“We never claimed we were going to, say, finish top six.
“I have said I think they have a good chance of doing so this year. But I am no longer with the club, so that makes it different.
“It is something I have always looked to avoid in my years managing.
“Before Steve Clarke was at Kilmarnock, there always seemed to be a lot of noise coming out of Rugby Park. They were going to do this, or that.
“It is so difficult to get a top-six finish. I think people underestimate how tough it is.”
For St Mirren’s tilt at achieving Fitzpartick’s wishes, last season’s skipper, Stephen McGinn, Vaclav Hladky, Oan Djorkaeff, Danny Mullen, Gary MacKenzie, Ross Wallace, Tony Andreu and Cody Cooke have all left the building.
Five have been brought in.
Three of them – Jak Alnwick, Richard Tait and Joe Shaughnessy – are permanent signings, while the other two – Isak Thorvaldsson and Nathan Sheron – are on loan from Norwich City and Fleetwood Town respectively.
Ryan Flynn, who has signed a new deal after initially delaying his decision, and Kyle Magennis will both return to action after missing the tail-end of the 2019-20 campaign with knee ligament injuries.
“Last season, St Mirren looked like a side which had a bit of youthfulness and energy about it,” said Wright.
“There has been quite a bit of movement since then, so we will have to wait and see how they get on.
“Alnwick, Tait and Shaughnessy look decent signings as they all know the league and will bring experience.
“The loan players will be keen to make an impact in Scotland, and we have seen examples where these type of deals work out well for all parties.”
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