Hamilton boss Brian Rice insists he will not take risks with Blair Alston’s comeback.
The former Falkirk and St Johnstone midfielder is finally set to return to action this week after two months out with a persistent knee problem.
Accies round off 2020 with a home clash against St Johnstone on Boxing Day before Sunday’s Lanarkshire derby clash with Motherwell, and Rice would love to have Alston involved.
But Rice will only welcome the 27-year-old back if he is convinced he is 100 per cent ready.
“Blair is coming on well and could be involved either on Thursday or perhaps Sunday,” said the Hamilton boss.
“He’s a quality player and I knew what I was getting from him when I brought him to the club in the summer.
“We didn’t realise that he would miss as many games as he has when he picked up the injury but he’s responded well to the treatment and hopefully he’ll be back this week.
“We’re not going to be stupid with him. I’m not saying he definitely will be involved – I’m just saying we’re hopeful.”
Accies ended an 11-game run without a win as they beat Hearts 1-0 to leapfrog the Jambos and leave the Gorgie men bottom of the table.
Now they are aiming to record back-to-back wins for the first time since March 2018 when Tommy Wright’s men visit the Foys Stadium.
Rice said: “It’s great to get the win given what the boys have been through. The performances over the last six or seven weeks have been great.
“The boys deserved the win on Saturday and I don’t usually say things like that but they did.
“I’m standing up for the boys because they’ve been battered a wee bit with the losing run.
“But it was only ever one goal here or there that cost us, so they deserve praise for winning.
“Confidence maybe took a hit with the team playing so well but not picking up points. I’m hopeful Saturday gives them that wee bit of confidence to go and express themselves against St Johnstone.
“It’s important we pick points up against the teams around about us in the league.”