ST. JOHNSTONE boss, Steve Lomas has already begun shaping his squad for next season, after offering Aston Villa teenager, Ebby Nelson-Addy a week long trial with the Perth club.

The 19-year-old midfielder has been recommended to Lomas as Saints prepare for the potential loss of key players in the summer. However, it is believed negotiations with several players whose contracts are close to expiring have started.

Lomas said: "We have Ebby up here for a week. I like to have young players around. It's good to have a mix of youth and experience in any squad.

"Villa are renowned for their youth academy, and we've seen a lot of kids coming through, including Scotland international Barry Bannan. We are just having a look at Ebby and he can see what we're all about." Lomas has targeted two more wins to secure a top half finish before the league splits, and the Northern Irishman recognizes the difficulties of focusing on both this season's goals and building for next season.

"It is a balancing act at this stage of the season because our priority is making the top six. But we also have to keep scouring the country for fresh talent. We aren't that sort of club that throws about three year deals so we are bound to have players going out of contract every summer.

"We are trying hard to get players tied up on new deals. At any club you want to keep the core group and the success here has been built on continuity in recent years.

"But it is likely we will be looking to replace one or two current players, with Fran Sandaza probably going while Cillian Sheridan doesn't know the situation with CSKA Sofia." St. Johnstone continue their search for a top six finish with a game against St. Mirren on Saturday, but Lomas admits the Perth side may have to make do without captain, Jody Morris.

"Jody might struggle for this one as he is still getting treatment to his groin injury. We can't afford to rush him and risk losing him for five or six weeks.

"Experienced players know their own bodies better than anyone and I trust Jody. But we may err on the side of caution. Steven Anderson is coming along after his knee injury against Hearts. He is a fit boy and we will see how it goes. Cillian will be suspended but we do have options."