Jim Goodwin hopes Dundee United will be in the mix for Jamie McGrath’s signature on a permanent basis — but expects fierce competition.
McGrath, 26, joined the Tangerines on loan last summer and, despite an often frustrating campaign, has been resurgent under Goodwin.
After finding the next in three successive games, McGrath now boasts seven goals and three assists from his 32 appearances this term, battling his way back into the Ireland set-up in the process.
He still has another year to run on his contract with parent club Wigan Athletic — boss Shaun Maloney could make a play to keep him — but the Latics are reeling from relegation to League One and combatting financial concerns.
Hibs and Fleetwood Town are reportedly weighing up a summer swoop.
And, although Goodwin is cognisant that his own future remains unclear, he is keen to seal a reunion permanent with McGrath — and hopes it is at Tannadice.
“Jamie is performing at a consistent level, is enjoying his football and is scoring goals,” lauded Goodwin. “That is what he is capable of.
“We work well together and, wherever I end up in the summer or what opportunities I get, then I want to be one of the managers in the mix to try and make Jamie a permanent signing.
“Hopefully, it will be here at Dundee United if everything can fall into place.”
He is the manager who brought McGrath to Scotland, snapping him up from Dundalk in January 2020.
McGrath went on to notch 20 goals and seven assists in 79 appearances as Goodwin got the best out of him.
Whether that could give the United boss an edge in any race for his signature remains to be seen.
“I know it hasn’t worked out the way he would have liked at Wigan but I think there will be a number of teams down there (in England) taking notice of what he is doing,” continued Goodwin.
“We have worked together closely for a couple of years at St Mirren and, since coming in here, that relationship is a good one.
“We trust each other and I believe I know how to get the best out of him. I play a kind of game that suits his strengths. He knows how important he is to the team — and the belief I have in him.”
Return to fitness
And McGrath will be fit and ready for this weekend’s Tayside tussle with St Johnstone.
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) April 23, 2023
He limped off after just 30 minutes of United’s last outing against Livingston — albeit he scored a screamer in that time — but has recovered well during the Tangerines’ free weekend.
“Jamie came off with a groin injury against Livingston,” added Goodwin. “We’ve had seven or eight days to let that settle down.
“He is feeling great and will come back into the group.”