Dundee United have been dealt a hammer-blow after Steven Fletcher was ruled out of their Premiership showdown with Livingston.
The former Scotland internationalist is nursing a groin complaint, with the full severity of the damage expected to become clear in the next few days following subsequent examinations.
There are fears that Fletcher’s campaign could be over — but those are, as yet, unconfirmed.
Courier Sport understands Fletcher did not take part in full training on Thursday, but he was only officially deemed unavailable for the weekend on Friday morning; a huge set-back for Tangerines boss Jim Goodwin.
Fletcher has been a stand-out for United this term, notching nine goals in 37 appearances despite ploughing a lone furrow in attack for much of the campaign.
The injury to Fletcher follows Ugandan striker Sadat Anaku — a starter when United last travelled to West Lothian — being ruled out for the rest of the year with a ruptured achilles, further diluting their attacking pool.
Rory MacLeod, fresh from a heartening display against County last week, is likely to be called upon to lead the line against Livingston.
Glenn Middleton is another option, depending on how match sharp he is after a lengthy layoff. The ex-Rangers man has not started a game since February 11.
Youthful duo Miller Thomson and Matthew Cudjoe are other attacking options, while Peter Pawlett will be on the bench.
Goodwin had been looking forward to benefitting from a bolstered squad this weekend after Pawlett and Dylan Levitt emerged unscathed from their return to full contact training.
United are currently two points adrift of Ross County at the bottom of the Premiership and three behind Kilmarnock — with just three games left to play.
The Terrors’ remaining fixtures are Livi away, Killie at Tannadice and Motherwell on the road.