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MOTHERWELL will seek to put off field distractions to one side this weekend when they resume SPL duties at Easter Road.
The arrest of midfielder Steve Jennings last week as part of an investigation into suspicious gambling activity has threatened to undermine what has been a superb start to the SPL campaign by the Steelmen.
Following the international break ’Well travel to face an improving Hibernian side on Saturday hoping to back up their excellent 3-1 victory at Dundee United last time out.
The sides met last month at Fir Park in a thrilling League Cup clash which was eventually won on penalties by the visitors.
Whilst claiming revenge is not on the mind of his squad, Motherwell assistant Kenny Black insists they want to right the wrong of their painful cup exit.
“It was hard to take going out the League Cup,” Black said this week as he took time out from his Scotland commitments.
“We defended poorly that night but still had done enough to win the game.
“Offensively it was probably one of the best performances in the short time I have been at the club.
“The goal from Bob McHugh which was ruled offside was a sore one to take.”
Both side’s spurned numerous chances to win the match that evening and despite being a thrilling spectacle for the fans, Black hopes this weekend’s league clash is not quite so open.
“Stuart (McCall) and I pride ourselves on clean sheets and the cup tie was really open.
“We are hoping it’s not as open as that match. Colin (Calderwood) has managed to put together a number of decent performances recently and despite losing to Rangers they had chances to score.
“Billy Brown has also come in at Hibs and he can make a difference.
“A trip to Easter Road is always a difficult one and we are hoping we don’t let ourselves down.”
Motherwell reached the dizzy heights of second place in the SPL after the last round of fixtures, replacing Celtic who dropped to third.
However Black has refused to look beyond a top six finish as their primary aim.
He said: “We were sitting on the bus coming back from Dundee United listening to the radio hearing talk about Motherwell splitting the Old Firm.
“It’s great to see ourselves in that position but we are not getting carried away with that. It can easily go the other way.
“Yes we want to try and stay as near the top as possible but we aim to emulate last season’s achievements of finishing in the top six and doing well in the Scottish Cup.
“We will gather as many points as we can and see where it takes us.”
Meanwhile Black is hoping highly-rated central defender Shaun Hutchinson will be ready for first team duty in the near future.
The former Airdrie boss feels Saturday may come too soon for the Englishman and has warned he should not expect to automatically walk straight back into the starting XI when fit.
He said: “The guys in possession of the jersey are the only ones who can put themselves out the team.
“These are the players who ultimately have given us our good start to the season.
“Shaun Hutchinson is not far away from returning and he started light jogging last week.
“He is a very important player for us.”