Dundee United central defender Mark Connolly is facing at least a month on the sidelines after suffering a serious injury.
The Irishman has damaged his ankle in training and will sit out not just Saturday’s trip to Ibrox to face Rangers but several of the fixtures that follow.
The Tangerines hope to have some fans back for the home league game against St Mirren on September 19 and Connolly will be joining them in the stand for that one.
He is also expected to miss the Premiership clashes against Hamilton (away) on the 26th and Livingston (home) on October 2, as well as the first Betfred Cup group game against Brechin (away) on October 7, the tie against Peterhead three days later and the Kelty Hearts match at Tannadice on the 13th.
Connolly has started all six of United’s games so far this season under new boss Micky Mellon.
But the player was recently at the centre of Covid-19 breach claims – which prompted a club investigation – after a city taxi driver accused him of failing to comply with coronavirus regulations by refusing to wear a face covering when entering the car following a night out.
Connolly’s injury will add to Mellon’s selection woes, of course.
Striker Lawrence Shankland has missed the last five of their matches, also with an ankle problem, and withdrew from the Scotland squad that was picked for the Nations League games against Israel and a makeshift Czech Republic side.
Right-back Liam Smith is another long-term absentee, having been out injured since the victory at Motherwell on August 8.
Meanwhile, the Tangerines are expected to sign trialist Florent Hoti, with the 19-year-old former Rochdale midfielder having done enough to persuade boss Mellon he is worth a contract.