Dundee United frontman Cammy Smith has been reassured he remains an integral part of the Tangerines’ squad.
The on-loan Aberdeen man hasn’t started a Championship match for United since the 2-1 home win over Greenock Morton back on September 24.
He has started on the bench in every fixture since, barring the club’s two Irn-Bru Cup ties against Stranraer and Dunfermline.
It has been a frustrating time for the 21-year-old who, arguably, has suffered more than most from the sparkling scoring form of Tony Andreu.
However, boss Ray McKinnon has been happy with the player’s application in training and offered him some encouragement.
The United gaffer said: “I have been keeping an eye on Cammy in training and he is doing well.
“He has been unfortunate at times.
“For example, in his area of the team we had Tony Andreu coming into the club and scoring so many goals for us.
“So it has been frustrating for Cammy.
“However, he just has to be patient and bide his time because he is a good player.”
Smith and his United teammates will head down to Somerset Park to play Ayr United on Saturday, looking to keep the momentum going from last Friday’s crucial 1-0 home win over Hibs.
That result at Tannadice moved the Tangerines joint-top with the Hibees and extended their unbeaten run to 11 games.
Despite all that, McKinnon is treating the Honest Men with the utmost respect.
He said: “Ayr are a good side and if we are not at our best it will be tricky.
“We have had them watched quite a bit.
“I saw them last week at Dunfermline myself and we also had someone at their games against Raith and Brechin.
“They should have beaten Raith and did get a draw at East End Park and they will raise their game to face us.
“Every game is difficult for us but we know that and will be prepared for it.”