AFTER a long summer of courting Tom Aldred via social media, the Motherwell supporters would no doubt have been horrified to see one of the heroes of last season’s Scottish Cup run linked with a move to Hamilton.

Thankfully for them, the defender was posing once more in the claret and amber this week rather than the red and white of their Lanarkshire rivals.

And as Aldred gears up to make his Fir Park return against Martin Canning’s men this afternoon, he had a simple message about the likelihood of him ever turning out for Hamilton.

“I was never going there,” Aldred said.

“I did have some options in Scotland, but I wanted to come back to Motherwell.

“I was only here for a short period, but I see the club going forward. If it was Scotland, it was always going to be Motherwell.

“I was always hopeful I’d be back. I had a great period here on loan. But I felt there was still work to be done - personally and for the team.

“For me to come back was a simple decision.”

Manager Stephen Robinson was delighted to welcome Aldred back to the club, and with another defender Christian Mbulu signing up yesterday to initially join the reserve squad, the Northern Irishman says he is happy to run with the squad he now has.

That means his focus now turns to keeping key assets, with midfielder Allan Campbell being linked with a move to Hibernian to fill the midfield void left by the departure of John McGinn.

While Robinson thinks that the 20-year-old still has a way to go before he can be considered in the same bracket as Aston Villa’s new signing, he is adamant that if he is to leave the club, it will be when the club’s valuation matches Motherwell’s valuation of the player.

“What did John McGinn go for, £2.8 million?” Robinson said.

“Allan is a very good footballer and we missed him last week. We missed that competitive edge.

“When you take him out of the team and you take Charles Dunne out of the team, people then realise just how good players they are.

“It would be no surprise at all if that was the case, but we have valuations on every single player and as far as I’m concerned, Allan isn’t going anywhere.

“I don’t think that Allan has done the same that John McGinn has done yet, and I don’t think they are entirely similar.

“They have attributes that are similar, but I think there are different parts to John’s game than there is to Allan’s.

“He’s got the potential to go and make good money and be a very, very good footballer.

“He’s got a lot of growing and learning still to do, and he will continue to do that knowing the boy he is.”