MOTHERWELL defender Tom Hateley believes that this week could shape the Fir Park side's season.

Stuart McCall's side take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle tomorrow, a game that is quickly followed by the visit of Dundee United on Tuesday.

United have been reinvigorated by the arrival of Jackie McNamara and, given the tightness of the table, there is every chance that there will be a few twists and turns in the fight for second place.

"These are the kind of games that you are always desperate to get your teeth into as a player because there is so much riding on them," said Hateley.

"They are two big games for us and you have to think that if we can come through them with positive results then it would give us a lot of confidence and belief to really kick on.

"But Terry Butcher's side are always going to be well motivated and fighting for everything.

"They have had a bit if a blip the last few weeks and they will come to us determined to show that they are still capable of fisnihing as runners-up this season. It has all the ingredients for a cracking game.

"It's great to have such a busy week to look forward to because it was a really restless time there when we were kicking our heels as everyone around us was playing."

Hateley himself is one of the Motherwell players who is out of contract at the end of the season but he has so far heard nothing from the club. How-ever, he has insisted that any uncertainty over his future will not affect his performances for the club between now and the remainder of the campaign.

"No, I haven't heard a thing from the club," he said. "But I don't take anything to do with that side of things. I let my agent and my Dad look at all that stuff and I don't think abut it at all.

"The most important thing for me is always that I am playing. That is where I want my focus to be. There are a few of us in the same boat and it should be an interesting few months.

"We are all determined to try and get that second spot and that's by far the thing that is uppermost in our minds."

Motherwell are without Keith Lasley and Fraser Kerr for tomorrow's game and Hateley believes that the loss of the Motherwell captain will be significant.

"It is disappointing," said the 23-year-old. "He has been so in-fleuntial for us this season but it is an opportunity for someone else to come in and the gaffer has shown throughout his time here that he is never afraid to trust any of the younger players.

"I'm sure whoever comes in will be giving their all because we all know how important a game it is for us."