Dundee boss James McPake admits Lee Ashcroft’s hamstring injury “doesn’t look good” after he limped off during the weekend win over Motherwell.
Last season’s Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year has been an integral part of the Dark Blues backline since arriving from Dunfermline.
But he will be absent for Wednesday night’s clash with St Johnstone after hobbling off against the Steelmen.
Getting the injury scanned has been delayed by Covid-19 but McPake expects to know the full extent of the problem before kick-off against Saints.
“Lee is going for his scan tomorrow so we will know more in the next 24 hours or so, but it doesn’t look good,” the Dens boss said.
“The annoying thing is he was just about to come off when it happened.
“I knew when I saw Woolery start to run – it probably would’ve been better if Ash had just sat down and didn’t chase him, let him score.
“Ash being Ash, even though he was struggling, he gives everything.
“Hopefully he gets a bit of luck with it because he’s been excellent for us since he came here.
“He’s shown he should be playing at Premiership level. Give me 11 characters like him and this job would be easy.”
Who will step in?
Options are limited in central defence with Jordan McGhee also out injured as he recovers from surgery to sort a knee problem.
He is expected to return to action in the next fortnight.
Stepping in for Ashcroft alongside Ryan Sweeney will be hugely experienced defender Liam Fontaine.
The 35-year-old came on for the final 36 minutes against the Steelmen and helped the Dark Blues to their third clean sheet of the league campaign.
“I thought when Fonts came on, he was excellent,” McPake said.
“He’s so composed and has played over 200 matches for Bristol City in the English Championship.
“In his career, he has played in the Premier League, played in a play-off final, won the Scottish Cup, played in a League Cup Final. He’s vastly experienced.
“Fonts is still very fit, is so knowledgeable and reads the game very well.
“He is a real calming influence and there would have been a stage in the season where he would have displaced one of the other two through form anyway.”
McPake added: “Jordan McGhee will be back for Ross County and in his first season was Player of the Year as a centre-back.
“We are short but that’s football.”