St Mirren are set to follow new year tradition of sorts by adding a new face to their squad in the form of Adam Campbell, but are also resigned to losing Kenny McLean for around six weeks with the 21-year-old requiring a knee operation.
Campbell is the latest to arrive on loan as a result of St Mirren's burgeoning relationship with Newcastle United, with Danny Lennon hoping the England under-19 striker can prove as useful an asset as Paul Dummett and Conor Newton before him. Dummett returned to Newcastle in the summer after a season-long loan with St Mirren to sign a six-year contract with Alan Pardew's side, while Newton continues to impress during a second stint in Paisley.
St Mirren fans will be able to judge for themselves when Campbell is handed his debut against Kilmarnock on Thursday. "Adam is now available for the next game and we're excited about that," said Lennon. "He brings another dimension to our club and he'll certainly improve our efforts in the coming weeks and months.
"He's a player with a very good pedigree. He's quick, direct, not the tallest, but that doesn't concern me as we've got height throughout the group. He's got lovely soft feet and his movement is terrific. He's a striker and likes playing on the shoulder of the defender but he can also play wide on the right. But we won't pigeonhole our players into one specific area."
Lennon believes Newcastle will also benefit from Campbell playing regular first-team football. "This is a situation that suits all three parties involved. Paul Dummett benefited from the experience in the past and Conor Newton is on his way to doing the same. These players have had a really good grounding and education at Newcastle. Now they need the experience of first-team football.
"I believe the relationship we have with Newcastle will benefit everybody. Any player who comes into our care, whether it's short-term or long-term, I believe we improve them."
Campbell's arrival will offset McLean's temporary departure from the first-team scene. The Scotland under-21 player requires a minor operation on his knee, with St Mirren still to decide on the best time for the player to go under the knife.
"Kenny's had a couple of episodes now with his knee locking so he's got a little problem there," added Lennon, who also doesn't expect Gary Teale to be available again until the end of January. "He needs a wee tidy-up job but it settles down really quickly. It's really down to us when he needs that procedure done. With the busy fixture list just now and the fine form that Kenny is in, we'd rather keep him with us for now. We'll pick a suitable time that suits all parties."
As for the challenge of Kilmarnock, Lennon said: "They had a fantastic result against Hearts [4-0] then lost 3-0 to Hibs, so it's been ups and downs for them. But they also have the second top goalscorer in the league in Kris Boyd so we'll need to be on our guard. Chris Johnston is also starting to get back to the form he showed prior to his injury. He's a player who's scoring goals and someone we'll need to take care of."