Petershill defender Craig Palmer will be setting his sights on his side's Emirates Junior Cup clash with Auchinleck Talbot next month.

His team-mates have more immediate concerns in the shape of league matches against Clydebank, Irvine Meadow and Rob Roy, as well as a New Coin Holdings Cup joust with Lanark United which must be crammed in before the end of 2012.

However, later today tough- tackling full-back Craig will be ruled out of the Peasy backline for this daunting fixture list as he goes under the surgeon's knife in Stobhill Hospital to cure a long-standing problem with a dislocated shoulder.

The 27-year-old said: "This shoulder joint has dislocated six times in all and I've known since the start of this season that an operation was needed to cure it.

"But a work injury on top of the shoulder popping out again in our Emirates Cup first-round victory over Glasgow Perthshire exacerbated things to the extent that I had to ask doctors to try and set a date for the procedure.

"I sat out half a dozen games in preparation for a mid-November hospital visit only for it to be cancelled last minute.

"However, the rest helped my shoulder and I felt strong enough to come back into Petershill's team for our Emirates Cup game at Bonnyrigg Rose and last week's league win over Cumnock.

"I was then looking forward to getting a run of games under my belt until a hospital letter arrived at the start of last week to inform me that I had the green light for today.

"Under the circumstances, I couldn't turn down the opportunity, particularly given the fact that Petershill are entering a period when postponements are likely so chances are I won't miss too many of our games."

The Emirates fourth-round draw pitted the Springburn club against Auchinleck, and the tie was welcomed by the hardy Palmer, who was a product of the Harmony Row side that included Willie Sawyers, Chris Zok and Grant Anderson before moving into the Junior ranks with Beith and Rutherglen Glencairn.

He said: "The furthest I've gone in the Scottish was with Beith when we were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Auchinleck.

"Their record in the competition is truly remarkable and it really does make them the team to beat. The prospect of taking them on is certainly not one to be feared though, given they only beat us 1-0 earlier this season when we deserved a draw.

"I'm no different to everyone in our dressing room in wanting to play in the cup game, but the worry in my mind is whether I'll be fully recovered from this shoulder surgery by the time the game comes around.

"Doctors have initially said my recuperation will take anything from six to ten weeks, so with the game seven weeks down the line and counting, I'll be facing a race against the clock to prove my fitness for the match."

" If I do come up short then it won't be for lack of trying but it's not as if Petershill will be short of replacement options.

"Stewart Maxwell is already on the way back from his torn hamstring injury, while Kenny Hadden can also play on the left side at a push."