Dundee boss Neil McCann admits he has a big decision to make on whether to hand new signing Steven Caulker his debut against Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup this afternoon.
The Dens manager stunned Scottish football on Thursday when manged to snap up the former England international defender on an 18-month contract.
The 26-year-old who has also starred for Spurs, Liverpool and Southampton, last played competitively for Queens Park Rangers in September.
However, McCann has been so impressed by what he has seen of the player in training, he has included him in the squad for the game against the Steelmen.
The manager said last night: “I think when you sign someone of Steven’s stature and ability then it certainly raises eyebrows, but what it does is it gives the whole club a real lift.
“He’s trained today. As usual Friday’s a wee bit lower key, but he actually did a wee bit more of an intense session, just got another one under his belt.
“I’ll make a decision on whether or not he’ll be involved, without giving away my team.
“He’s not been playing competitively for a long spell. He has to determine whether he’s physically ready or not but he looks fantastic in training.
“He’s settled in really well considering it’s only his second day. You can see he’s very vocal, very involved in the sessions so he’s been a brilliant addition.”
McCann added: “Steven’s an experienced pro and he knows his own body and that’s something we will have to talk over lots of times, just in terms of his readiness having not played for a wee while, since the back end of September.
“Generally footballers react to people coming through the door of that pedigree – they’re thinking ‘wow!’.
“Not only is it going to help us within our game, I think it makes people sit up and take notice.
“We’ve lost somebody of the quality of Jack Hendry to Celtic but we’ve gone and been able to bring in somebody of the quality of Steven Caulker.
“I daresay the fans in particular and maybe even the dressing-room have felt a bit deflated after losing one of our best players that we’ve recruited in the summer.
“Then we go out and replace him with someone like Steven and it’s going to have a positive impact.”
While McCann had yet to make up his mind about Caulker’s participation, one thing he was certain of was that Motherwell would provide a stern test.
The manager watched the Steelmen beat St Johnstone on Tuesday night and was impressed by their recent additions, Curtis Main, Tom Aldred and former Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci.
He said: “I was there on Tuesday night and I’ve watched the full game again so there’s nothing I won’t be surprised by.
“I think I’ve said Stevie (Motherwell boss Robinson) has recruited well in terms of he lost Lewis Moult and he’s gone out and brought Main in who’s a goal threat and he’s brought Ciftci in as well up top. Our fans will certainly know him.
“He’s also added through the spine of the team. He’s brought in Tom Aldred as well, who will give them a lot of strength in the back positions.
“I think he’s been really kind of shrewd in his business again. He’s shown that again and he’s certainly got a type he looks for.
“I believe I know how Motherwell will play and it will be a tough game.”
Dundee will be without on-loan Hibs striker Simon Murray for the game as he is cup-tied.
Josh Meekings will be given a late fitness test while fellow centre-half Julen Etxabeguren is definitely out after dislocating his shoulder in training.
However, Sofien Moussa who missed last week’s game against Ross County because of injury returns to the squad.