Lomas eager to retain duo

Saints boss hoping to keep Sandaza and Sheridan

Steve Lomas: Saints boss looking to retain Francisco Sandaza and Cillian Sheridan

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St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas hopes clinching European football will allow the club to secure the services of Francisco Sandaza and Cillian Sheridan.

The purse strings are tight at McDiarmid Park and Lomas hopes a boost in income could prove crucial in his bid to retain the pair.

Sandaza, who has 13 SPL goals, is out of contract in the summer while former Celtic man Sheridan is on loan from CSKA Sofia.

Lomas knows the club face an uphill battle to retain the duo, although he feels securing European football would help.

Hope

"I still haven't given up hope of re-signing Fran; I'd love to sign him and Cilly," explained Lomas.

"If we can push up the league and get some more money, maybe getting into Europe will go towards getting them to stay.

"To qualify for Europe would be unbelievable, but there's a long, long way to go.

"I'd like to think the lads have enjoyed their football this year.

"I've certainly enjoyed managing them. They're a great bunch of boys.

"There's no doubt that team spirit and togetherness has played a part this season. Team spirit is very hard to build and when you've got a nice little mix of players like I've got you want to try to keep them together."

Ideal world

The SPL's third-highest scorer in history Derek Riordan trained with St Johnstone and he is another who Lomas would like to sign.

Riordan is a free agent after his contract with Chinese Super League side Shaanxi Chanba expired with Lomas stating: "There's no doubt I would like to sign Derek Riordan.

"It's about whether or not we can finance it, the technicalities of the deal.

"Derek is looking to get somewhere until the end of the season and maybe look to assess things going forward - I can understand that.

"In an ideal world, when Derek had come in last week I'd have signed him, but there's a whole load of different issues surrounding it."