MOTHERWELL midfielder Carl McHugh has hailed the impact of the Fir Park youngsters on the side, even though they have taken his place in the starting line-up.

The likes of David Turnbull, Jake Hastie and Allan Campbell have shone as Motherwell have won their last five matches in the Premiership, giving them a chance of a push for a top six place.

Another youngster, James Scott, agreed a new three-year deal with the club on Wednesday, and McHugh says that the future of the club and of those players themselves is bright.

“The young lads have done great like Davie, Jake and even Allan, who although he has played a lot he is still a young boy,” McHugh said.

“Playing with wingers has really helped and we have pace in the team, and they have a great future ahead of them. They can go on and do anything they want in the game.

“They are really great boys as well with a great attitude and they can go wherever they want to.

“They have no fear, they just go and play, and you see how much it means to them to play for the club because they have obviously been here for a long time.

“It’s great to see. You see the work they put in. Jake has been out on loan and now he has grasped his chance and he really deserves it.

“Competition is tougher but that’s part of being in professional football, you’ve just have to look after yourself and keep yourself fit so you’re ready for it if when you’re needed to get back in the team.

“I’ve been a support to the boys whenever I can and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

One of the few negatives to come out of Fir Park since the end of the winter break has been the fitness struggles of star January signing Ross McCormack, and the 32-year-old has suffered another setback as he looks to regain his match sharpness.

“Ross pulled up in training, which is the danger when you’re trying to get people fit,” said Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson.

“He hasn’t played for a few months now and he has a niggle which means he won’t be involved on Sunday [against Hearts] but we’ll re-assess him after that.

“Ross isn’t at full fitness and we all know that. We’ve been trying to get him game time and we arranged a reserve match behind closed doors for him but he had an illness and couldn’t finish it and then he was unavailable for a game last Tuesday because of a calf problem.

“It’s frustrating because we’re arranging these matches for him and he’s been unable to take part in them and it’s hard to get somebody fit by playing them in the first team.

“But we know what he can bring and we have real belief in his ability so we’ll look at it again next week.

“But we’re okay, we’re scoring goals and winning matches so we’re not winning games in terms of what he could bring to the side.”

Robinson is hopeful that his young winger Hastie will follow teammates Turnbull and Scott in committing his future to the Fir Park club soon.

“He’s out of contract at the end of the season but we’re very well protected in terms of compensation,” he said. “We’ve made Jake a good offer, James Scott signed on Wednesday and Barry McGuire has also been offered a new deal.

“We had to do a bit of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market in order to get to that stage but Jake’s a big part of what we’re doing.

“He’s playing regular first-team football and I’d sit in front of any parent and tell them that if their boy goes to England they’ll be playing Under-23 football and they’ll maybe lose their way.

“I’m a big advocate of playing early and playing young and I’m confident that Jake will re-sign.”