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4 Dundee United options as Jim Goodwin faces sole selection conundrum for Raith Rovers crunch

Goodwin has deployed several players in attacking midfield or as a second striker this term. Who will get the nod on Saturday?

Dundee United players Declan Glass, Mathew Cudjoe, Tony Watt and Chris Mochrie, left to right
Glass, Cudjoe, Watt and Mochrie (L to R) could all come into Goodwin's thinking. Image: SNS

The Dundee United team for the biggest game of the Championship season to date largely picks itself.

Such has been the Tangerines’ consistency in the league, it is possible to – fitness-permitting – reel off much of the starting 11 that will line up against Raith Rovers.

Jack Walton between the sticks. The ever-reliable back-four of Liam Grimshaw, Declan Gallagher, Kevin Holt and Scott McMann, with Ross Docherty and Craig Sibbald patrolling the engine room.

Glenn Middleton and Kai Fotheringham on the flanks, providing the bullets for Louis Moult.

However, there is one selection conundrum for Jim Goodwin, as he considers who merits the nod as his second striker/attacking midfielder, having given several players a chance to shine in that role this term.

Jim Goodwin, Dundee United manager, in conversation with Alan Temple at a Courier Live Even in Dundee
Goodwin, pictured at a recent Courier live event, has a fairly settled side. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

Courier Sport analyses his options.

Tony Watt

Should he be deemed fully fit – having entered the fray as a substitute against Ayr United last week following a slight groin issue – Watt would seem to be the front-runner to support Moult.

Watt has notched five goals and three assists from his 21 outings this season.

However, he has also illustrated an ability to hustle and harry opponents, defending from the front and helping United maintain their outstanding defensive record in the Championship.

Jim Goodwin, left, chats to Dundee United striker Tony Watt
Goodwin, left, chats to Dundee United striker Tony Watt. Image: SNS

As outlined in a recent Courier Sport feature, his pressing statistics are among the best at Tannadice, while he ranks top of the division for “key passes” from open play. An all-rounder.

Watt was bright against the Honest Men and would undoubtedly relish the big occasion.

Chris Mochrie

The man in possession of the jersey.

Mochrie, 20, was handed his first Championship start of the season against Ayr, having previously shone as a super-sub – notching last-minute winners against Inverness and Dunfermline.

Dundee United stars celebrate Mochrie's winner.
United stars celebrate Mochrie’s winner against Dunfermline. Image: SNS

Goodwin remains “excited” about Mochrie’s promise but wants him to grab games by the scruff of the neck. And the rangy midfielder was impactful in the opening 45 minutes against the Honest Men.

Only a fine Charlie Albinson save denied him an early opener, while he showed elegance and mobility to cover plenty of ground and surge forward in possession. However, he faded after the break and was replaced by Watt.

It remains to be seen whether he did enough to keep his place.

Declan Glass

Glass recently enjoyed his best run of successive United starts, racking up seven on the trot prior to injury sidelining him for the Terrors’ 5-0 win at Partick Thistle on October 21.

Those outings were largely in the heart of the engine room, with Goodwin keen to see the gifted playmaker become a more rounded operator.

Nevertheless, Glass has plenty of experience as a “No.10” and his eye for a killer pass, ability to score a screamer from distance and excellent set piece delivery would make him a viable option.

He would also serve to beef up the midfield when out of possession, should Goodwin be wary of Rovers’ threat on the break.

Mathew Cudjoe

Goodwin’s wildcard option.

The gifted Ghanaian has been unfortunate in recent weeks. Prior to his red card against Morton in September, the diminutive winger was arguably United’s most exciting young prospect.

He has already racked up eight goal contributions, rippling the net four times in addition to four assists in 17 games.

However, in Cudjoe’s absence, Fotheringham grabbed a starting berth and hasn’t looked back.

Although largely deployed as a winger in his time at Tannadice, Cudjoe has an intelligent appreciation of space for one so young, picks up dangerous pockets of space and can break the lines via a dribble or pass.

Mathew Cudjoe celebrates a goal for Dundee United
Mathew Cudjoe enjoyed a fine start to the season. Image: SNS

There is no reason he could not be an intriguing option to play centrally, supporting a traditional No.9.