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Daniel Phillips brings ‘combative’ qualities to St Johnstone – Callum Davidson

Daniel Phillips is heading to St Johnstone (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Daniel Phillips is heading to St Johnstone (Zac Goodwin/PA)

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson is excited about adding the “combative” qualities of Trinidad and Tobago international Daniel Phillips to his squad.

The Perth side are close to finalising a deal for the 21-year-old midfielder after he impressed during a trial at McDiarmid Park following his departure from Watford earlier this summer.

Davidson confirmed at a media briefing that the transfer is nearing completion and he hopes to have Phillips – who spent last season on loan at Gillingham – in contention for Saturday’s cinch Premiership trip to Rangers.

“We’re looking to try and bring Daniel in and hopefully it will all get sorted, everything will get cleared and he’ll be ready to play (against Rangers),” said the Saints boss.

“Daniel’s a real combative midfielder. He’s got loads of energy, he gets snapped into tackles and he’s good on the ball. He’s a young player with, for me, a big future, so we’ll see how that develops.”

Davidson, who has already overseen a significant summer rebuild in Perth, anticipates further transfer activity before the window closes.

“There are always moving parts,” he said. “There are still areas on the pitch we need to look at. Over the next two or three games, players can make decisions for me in terms of ‘no, you don’t need new players in this position’ or otherwise.

“You can get injuries as well, so you always have to keep looking and see who’s available.”

Saints captain Liam Gordon, who is yet to make a first-team appearance this season due to injury, stepped up his comeback bid with an outing for the Under-20s in the Challenge Cup and is now deemed ready for a starting place.

However, Davidson warned that the skipper faces stiff competition from Ryan McGowan, Alex Mitchell and Andrew Considine, who have shone as a defensive trio in the opening two league games.

“Liam came through a game last night so he’s ready to start a game,” said the manager. “He will be under pressure from the performances I’ve had from the back three so far.”

Saints midfielder David Wotherspoon is closing in on a return to action after nine months out with an ACL injury. Davidson is wary of rushing the 32-year-old back too soon but also mindful of the fact the Canada international has only a few months in which to prove he is ready to go to the World Cup in Qatar.

“David’s itching to get back into training but we’ve just got to be careful with his type of injury,” Davidson said. “He’s working extremely hard because he’s got other goals, he wants to get to the World Cup.

“He’s been doing a lot of running and I think over the next two or three weeks we’ll blend him into a bit of training. Probably in about a month’s time we’ll have him in full training looking to get a game straight away.

“It’s a tricky situation. For me, the medical team and David, it’s about being realistic.

“We all want David to get to the World Cup but at the same time we all want him to keep playing and not get a recurrence of the injury. If he keeps doing everything right, as he is, fingers crossed we can get him back playing and get him to the World Cup.”