MOTHERWELL manager Stephen Robinson says that his forthcoming assault trial will not be a distraction for his players going into the second half of the season.

Robinson attended Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday and was told that he would stand trial on accusations of assaulting his partner on a night out in the city in December. He will attend another hearing next month, with his trial due to begin on February 27th.

The Fir Park boss maintains he is innocent of the charge brought against him, and he has vowed not to let the episode have any sort of impact on what has been a hugely successful campaign for the Steelmen to this point.

“We just carry on with our business,” Robinson said. “Obviously I can’t say anything further about the case, but it doesn’t affect us.

“Thursday was a day off for us, as it always is, and we’ve prepared brilliantly. We had a game against Hibs on Tuesday and the boys’ application has been absolutely super.

“I can’t say any kind of specifics, but it won’t affect [the players] in any shape or form.”

Back on footballing matters, Robinson is excited to have David Turnbull back in the fold after the midfielder moved closer to a return to action during the winter break.

Turnbull has been out since a pre-emptive operation on his knee during the summer put paid to a proposed big-money move to Celtic, and Robinson is hoping the 20-year-old agrees to hang around even longer than the end of his current contract, which ends next summer.

“We’re speaking to David and his representatives,” he said.

“Listen, we want David at the football club for as long as we possibly can. But I don’t know where [the talks] are, I don’t get involved in the discussion.”

One man who has committed his future to the club is right-back Liam Grimshaw, who signed a contract extension until the summer of 2022 during the week, while Chris Long remains in talks too.

“We’re speaking to Chris Long and we’re confident with that one as well,” Robinson said. “So, then you’re thinking that we have got quite a number of boys signed and ready to go for next season instead of our usual recruitment of 12 or 13 players.

“At some stage you will fail with that at our level of recruitment and wages that we pay, but we’re in a position at the moment when we can recruit early and that’s good news.”

Former Kilmarnock attacker Mikael Ndjoli also arrived at Fir Park this week on loan from Bournemouth, but Robinson thinks he may be his sole January signing.

“We don’t expect to do any more business unless somebody goes out and surprises me,” he said.

“We’ve had no contact about any player at all and I’m hoping that stays the same. I don’t see us bringing anybody else in at this moment in time.”

Another extended cup run may help strengthen Robinson’s hand in his summer recruitment, but he has warned his men they will have to be at their best to overcome Dundee at Dens Park tonight.

“If you look at their starting 11, they are a Premiership team,” he said. “They’ve got Premiership players, they pay Premiership wages, the size of the club is a Premiership club.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for them. I know Jimmy Nicholl very well and I know James (McPake) as well. They’re building things there.

“We’ll have to be at the top of our game. There’s not a lot of difference between the top end of the Championship and the Premiership, so we have to be prepared for a physical game and try to stamp our authority on it.”