Dylan Levitt and Peter Pawlett could both return to the Dundee United squad to face Livingston on Saturday.
Levitt, 23, has not featured since suffering a knee injury in Jim Goodwin’s first match as United manager — a 3-1 defeat against Aberdeen at the start of March.
Pawlett, meanwhile, endured a recurrence of a hamstring strain during the Terrors’ 2-0 reverse at Rangers on April 1, with Goodwin revealing the player was “close to tears” in the immediate aftermath.
However, the duo have resumed full contact training this week and, while far from ready to play a full 90 minutes, they could add valuable experience and quality to the group that travels to the Tony Macaroni Arena.
“Dylan Levitt and Peter Pawlett have been back training with the boys this week,” confirmed Goodwin. “They were in full contact on Thursday, so we have a really good squad of players to choose from.
“If they have no niggles (on Friday), then they will both be welcome additions to the squad.
“Fitness-wise, they are not ready to play 90 minutes but if you look at our bench since we came in, there have been quite a number of young players without much experience.
“When you are in the kind of situation we are in, then it is good to have that extra experience — players who aren’t fazed or overawed by the situation.”
The bottom line
Meanwhile, Goodwin has delivered a stark warning to any United stars fooled by the travails of the wounded Lions.
Livi are enduring a miserable run of 10 defeats in their last 14 fixtures, with boss David Martindale increasingly candid regarding the financial challenges of life at the West Lothian club.
It goes without saying that the points are more important to us than they are to Livingston.
United’s relegation rivals Kilmarnock and Ross County have both claimed 2-0 victories against Martindale’s men in recent weeks — and now the Tangerines must leave with three points.
“We had a conversation with the players before training on Thursday — we can’t underestimate Livingston,” he continued.
“There is no getting away from the poor run of form they are on, but knowing Davie (Martindale) and knowing what Livingston’s players generally give, then he will be demanding a reaction.
“There are a number of players at the club playing for their futures, as well.
“There is a lot at stake for Livingston — but it goes without saying that the points are more important to us than they are to Livingston.”
United are two points adrift of Ross County and three behind Kilmarnock following last weekend’s miserable 3-1 defeat against the Highlanders.
With just three games left, the time for words is long past. It is ‘must-win’ territory.
“At this stage, results are more important than performance — that is the bottom line,” said Goodwin.