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Marc McNulty’s season is over as Dundee United striker suffers nightmare injury – but Tam Courts receives one fitness boost

Agony: McNulty's season is ended
Agony: McNulty's season is ended

Marc McNulty may have played his last game for Dundee United after the Scotland internationalist suffered a serious knee injury.

McNulty was withdrawn in the closing stages of United’s 1-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday following a ferocious collision with teammate Liam Smith.

The Tangerines received the initial results of a follow-up scan on Thursday and, while unable to place an exact time-frame on McNulty’s absence, the damage is significant.

As such, he will not play for United again before the expiry of his loan deal from Reading at the end of the season, potentially bringing the curtain down on his two years at Tannadice.

Liam Smith checks on McNulty following the fluke collision

“I don’t want to speculate too much but it looks like he’ll be out for a period of time,” said a visibly gutted United boss Tam Courts.

“We only got the results on Thursday and, although we don’t know the full extent, it is safe to say his season is over. And I think he is going to be out for a wee while.

“It’s bad news for him on a personal level but we’ll do everything we can for him. Sparky is someone we have a lot of time and respect for.

“We would support any player, anyway, but we’ll certainly provide that [facilities] for him. We just need to get a timescale on it.”

Options

McNulty will be out of contract this summer, with his deal at the Royals due to expire.

The 29-year-old has, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that he has no interest in remaining at Reading after failing to make his mark at the Madejski Stadium.

Asked whether United could pursue a permanent move for the player, despite his fitness set-back, Courts continued: “I don’t know the level of conversations between Tony [Asghar, sporting director] and Sparky’s agent.

“Sparky is a Premiership level striker and a Scotland international.

“He is leaving Reading after a long-term contract and I’m sure he’ll have options. And he’s probably got a little extra time now to consider his next move.”

Kevin McDonald boost

However, there was better news on the fitness front after Courts confirmed that former Fulham and Scotland midfielder Kevin McDonald is in contention to face Rangers on Sunday.

The 33-year-old has recovered from a muscular strain and is a welcome option amid the ongoing absence of Ian Harkes, Peter Pawlett and Calum Butcher.

“Kevin McDonald is back training,” revealed Courts. “The way Kev’s body recuperates from injury is probably slightly different from how it did before his [kidney] transplant.

“So we had to be cautious last week and I think that was the right decision.

“He is now moving a lot more freely in full-contact training and is available for selection.”

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