As Motherwell prepare to rack up the big “five-oh” Shaun Hutchinson has dismissed any talk of tiredness.
The gaffer has admitted that he may consider freshening up the squad ahead of the trip to Tannadice for the – remarkably – 50th game of the season for the Steelmen.
And while Geordie Hutchinson acknowledges that any changes will benefit competition within the squad ahead of the Cup final, he doesn’t reckon the ‘Well lads are suffering from the rigours of a long campaign – which started all the way back in Iceland in the middle of July.
“A few of the boys have played a lot of football this season and any changes to the team will be a great opportunity for other players to prove themselves for the Final.” Hutchinson said.
“That’s the biggest game of the season and some of the boys will have a great chance to earn themselves a place in the team.
“Over the course of the season, playing so many games can have an effect but the manager has planned his training very well and we work hard on the right days and rest at the right times. Everyone is feeling OK at the moment.”
The big defenders positivity may be, largely, down to the recent results against this weekend’s opponents, Dundee United.
With four wins, a draw and just one defeat against the talented Arabs, Motherwell can justifiably head up to Tayside in good spirits.
And Hutchinson has no doubt what the gameplan will be; stop United’s stars and then get the ball to Murphy, Humphrey, Jeffers and Sutton, and let them cause havoc…again.
“I feel pretty lucky – every time we’ve played United in recent times our front four have been on fire,” the talented youngster laughed. “We’ve generally played really well against them this season and hopefully that will continue tomorrow.
“You know the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses going into every game and we’ll do our best to make sure the likes of Goodwillie and Conway can’t cause damage, and we’ll get the ball to the forwards who can do what they have been doing all season.”
The 20-year old also confessed to the assembled press this morning that he was left ‘gutted’ by the defeat to Rangers last week.
He admits it’s tough for any defender to suffer that type of mauling – but it’s time to make amends: “We don’t want to dwell on it, but last week was a poor result.
“So it’s important to go up there and get a good result because we are still chasing fifth place and that has to be our aim. Settling for sixth place this season is not something we are interested in; we want to push on.
“The defenders feel most of the pain when five goals fly past you, but it’s a team performance and everyone was gutted at the final result.”