Dundee only have 15 fit players – including two goalkeepers – for today’s game at Partick Thistle.
Dark Blues boss Paul Hartley’s squad is down to the bare bones because of injury and suspension with the situation being the worst since he took over at Dens.
The manager’s options have been even further reduced with another five players picking up injuries for the Under-20s in midweek against Motherwell.
Now, Hartley will have just two outfield substitutes at Firhill as his side look to bounce back strongly after the disappointment of missing out on a top six finish following the defeat at Hamilton a fortnight ago.
He said: “We are really stretched and we’ve only got a squad of 15 for the game and that includes two goalkeepers.
“Rory Loy, Nicky Low, Daryll Meggatt and James McPake are all injured. Thomas Konrad is unwell and Julen Etxabeguren is suspended.
“I’ve always had to call on young players but the ones I would call on are injured.
“We have five out from the Under-20s game the other day and I can’t just put kids on the bench for the sake of it if they’re not ready.
“In terms of numbers, this is as bad as it’s been but we’re not making a song and dance about it. We’ll go with what we’ve got. We have to. As long as we’ve got a starting 11 and enough subs then I’m happy.
“Nicky is out for the season. He’s going to have an operation next Thursday.
“Nicky’s had an ankle problem for a while. We gave him a couple of injections but it hasn’t worked. He felt his Achilles in training the other day and you’re talking eight to 10 weeks.
“His season never got going due to illness and injury which is disappointing. We just need to make sure he recovers properly.”
While some would suggest that Dundee have little left to play for this season, the manager insists his player still have targets to aim for including winning their remaining five games.
He said: “We missed out on the top six because we drew too many games.
“When I look back at all the ones we have drawn like the last derby game when we were a minute really from making the top six.
“So we drew too many games and the players were disappointed but we now have to try and finish the season on a real high.
“We will try to get as many points as we can to finish seventh and then carry that on into next season.
“We have been really good in spells and the football has been exciting but the draws have cost us.
“So we have to target five wins. We finished with 45 points last year – so can we better that?”
Meanwhile, Dundee have appointed former Airdrie boss Jimmy Boyle as the club’s new Head of Youth Development.
Hartley said: “We are delighted to have Jimmy as part of the club. He is fully qualified for the role and his experience will be a valuable asset to our Academy system.”