Both sides claimed four points against each other across three league games last season, with the only encounter in Perth ending as a 1-1 draw.
After a hugely successful 2020-21 campaign, Callum Davidson's St Johnstone side continue to impress following a 1-1 draw against Turkish giants Galatasaray in the first leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier.
It was the Saints who took the lead in the 58th minute, when captain Jason Kerr converted from the penalty spot, after goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was sent off for bringing down Chris Kane. Their lead, however, lasted just two minutes as Sacha Boey capitalised on a defensive misjudgement and drilled in the equaliser.
St Johnstone could not really make the most of their extra man and eventually had to share the spoils, but nevertheless Davidson was pleased with his side's performance, hailing the draw as 'one of the club's best results in Europe'. Next week's second leg in Perth is now nicely poised, with a place in the final playoff round up for grabs.
The Saints will now prepare for a return to Premiership action and following a goalless draw to Ross County on the opening weekend, they will be hoping they can claim all three points against Motherwell, in front of several thousand home supporters at McDiarmid Park.
St Johnstone played Motherwell four times last season across all competitions but only one of these meetings was on home soil, a 1-1 league draw in November.
Davidson's men are sure to have one eye on Thursday's Europe League second-leg tie, but claiming a victory on Sunday would help build positive momentum for when the 22-time Turkish champions visit Perth.
Motherwell's 2021-22 campaign began with defeat, when they lost an entertaining 3-2 encounter at home against Hibernian last weekend.
Goals from Kevin van Veen and Bevis Mugabi put the Steelmen in front on two occasions, however Hibs pegged them back twice with goals from Kyle Magennis and Christian Doidge, before Martin Boyle's 70th-minute penalty kick proved to be the winning strike for the visitors.
After slipping from third place in 2019-20 to eighth last season, Motherwell are aiming to climb back into the top six this term and know that victories against side such as St Johnstone will be required.
In the last five seasons, the Steelmen have claimed nine points from their eight away trips to McDiarmid Park, including a solitary point last season; their last victory in Perth was a narrow 1-0 win in September 2019.
Motherwell failed to win any of their first four away games last season, but a win on Sunday would breed confidence into Alexander's side before their League Cup second round tie against Dundee in a week's time.
Davidson has named the same five defenders and three central midfield players in his first two competitive games of the new season and he is set to stick with these eight once again this weekend.
Kerr, Liam Gordon and Jamie McCart – who were ever-present at centre-back last year – are set to lineup with Shaun Rooney and Reece Devine as the wing-backs, while David Wotherspoon, Ali McCann and Murray Davidson are likely to continue in the middle of the pitch.
As for Motherwell, Alexander may decide to name the same starting lineup despite suffering defeat on the opening weekend.
New recruit Darragh O'Connor, brought in from Leicester City this summer, will be hoping he can make his league debut for the Steelmen on Sunday, though Mugabi and Ricki Lamie are set to continue at centre-back.
In midfield, Barry Maguire and Liam Donnelly are expected to start and they could be joined by either Callum Slattery or Steven Lawless, while attackers Kaiyne Woolery, Tony Watt and Van Veen are all likely to remain in the first XI.
St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Clark; Kerr, McCart, Gordon; Rooney, McCann, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Devine; O'Halloran, Kane
Motherwell possible starting lineup:
Kenny; O'Donnell, Mugabi, Lamie, Carroll; Donnelly, Slattery, Maguire; Woolery, Van Veen, Watt
We say: St Johnstone 1-0 Motherwell
At least two goals have been scored in eight of the last 11 meetings between the two sides, though we feel that a more cagey affair could be on the cards this weekend.
St Johnstone will head into this encounter as the slight favourites and although they will have one eye on Thursday's Europa League tie, they may just do enough to secure a narrow victory on home soil.
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