Declan Gallagher could be set for a shock return to action in Dundee United’s promotion six-pointer against Raith Rovers.
Gallagher, 33, has not featured for the Tangerines since being carried off in the early stages of their 4-0 victory over Arbroath on January 2 due to a groin complaint.
He underwent surgery on January 11 to cure the persistent issue and Tannadice boss Jim Goodwin has confirmed that the Scotland international is well ahead of schedule on his road to recovery.
If we feel that he’s at a level to be involved then most definitely, he will be.”
Jim Goodwin on Gallagher
Gallagher rejoined United training at the start of this week and, while there is still some residual pain from the operation, the actual injury has been repaired and is “stronger than ever”.
And the big defender could take his place in United’s squad for the televised trip to Kirkcaldy, should he prove his fitness closer to Friday night.
“Declan Gallagher is making great progress,” confirmed Goodwin. “There will be a decision to be made on Gall in the later part of the week, regarding whether he is ready to be involved with the squad on Friday.
“He’s back in with the group this week, gradually building him back up. If we feel that he’s at a level to be involved then most definitely, he will be.
“He’s way ahead of schedule. Anyone who has undergone surgery will know there is a lot of irritation and pain around the area – but Gall is a strong character, and the pain isn’t holding him back.
“He knows he can’t do that area any more damage – it’s been completely repaired and is stronger than ever – and he has the mentality to play through the pain barrier, especially with what is at stake.
“The big man came to Dundee United to win promotion, which he has done successfully at other clubs in the past, and he is chomping at the bit to be back involved.”
Confirming that Sadat Anaku is now the only remaining injury casualty among his senior players, Goodwin added: “It’s a great position for me to be in, as a manager – having all my key players available.
“Gall is the final piece of that and he’s not a million miles away, at all.”