Dundee boss Paul Hartley faces an anxious wait to discover if key defender Kevin Gomis will be available for tomorrow’s game at Kilmarnock.
The big French centre-half had to rush back to his homeland on Wednesday after his wife suddenly went into labour.
The Dens manager is now sweating over whether it will be practical for Gomis to fly back in time for the game in Ayrshire.
The Dark Blues do have central defence back-up in the shape of Julen Etxabeguren but Gomis has formed a solid back-three partnership in recent weeks with Darren O’Dea and Kosta Gadzhalov and the manager would be understandably keen to retain the trio.
While Gomis’s participation is very much up in the air, Hartley revealed that Mark O’Hara is still struggling after his groin op and will not feature but there will be a welcome return to the squad for two others.
The manager said last night: “Kevin has had to go back to France as his wife has given birth. So he may miss out this weekend.
“He went back on Wednesday night as she was taken in quite quickly.
“We will see how he is placed but he might not make the Killie game.
“Mark O’Hara will miss out again as he is still a wee bit away. He won’t be involved.
“He still has some fluid and will go back to see the specialist on Tuesday.
“It is nothing serious but he is feeling a little uncomfortable kicking the ball.
“The squad is strong enough and we want to make sure he is right.”
Hartley added: “Nick Ross had a couple of stitches in his ankle last week.
“We hoped he would be all right but he pulled out last Friday. However, he is OK now.
“Nicky Low will also be in the squad. He is feeling a lot better.
“It has been tough for him as he has had one thing after another and has not had a run in the team. He is still a bit away in terms of match fitness but hopefully he is over the worst of it.
“James Vincent was really struggling last week with illness which was why he came off against Inverness
“He has been really good for us in midfield in the last few games and he should be fine for Saturday.”
Hartley has left no stone unturned ensuring his players are fully prepared for tomorrow’s game, including training on an artificial surface marked out to the exact dimensions of the one at Rugby Park.
Killie boss Lee Clark had the pitch drastically narrowed and shortened back in August.
Hartley is hoping though that it will now not come as a nasty surprise to his players.
He added: “We have been on astro this week giving them a feel for it.
“We brought the pitch in to the exact same size as Kilmarnock’s.
“So we have done our homework. I have seen the size of their pitch.
“They have brought it in so we have worked within their pitch size this week.”
Dundee drew their first game against Killie at Dens this season with a Faissal El-Bakhtaoui goal being cancelled out by a stunning overhead strike by Souleymane Coulibaly.
The Ivory Coast striker missed Kilmarnock’s last game with Celtic but if he does make a return against Dundee, Hartley admits he is someone they will have to keep a close eye on.
He said: “He has scored a lot of spectacular goals this season so he is one we have to be aware of.
“He didn’t play in the Celtic game last week so he may come back in.
“I was at that match and Killie performed really well.
“The league is very tight so it is important we keep the momentum going, building on what we have done and working hard.
“I have been really pleased with how the players have gone about their business – they have been excellent and they just have to keep it going.”