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Double boost for Dundee United defender Bilel Mohsni ahead of crunch play-off clash

Bilel Mohsni.
Bilel Mohsni.

Dundee United defender Bilel Mohsni has received a double boost with the news that he will be fit to face Livingston tonight and has a golden chance of playing in the World Cup.

Mohsni hobbled off the park minutes before the end of the Tangerines’ 3-2 loss to Livi in the first leg of their Premiership play-off semi-final at Tannadice on Monday night.

He suffered a groin strain that was expected to keep him out of the return match at the Tony Macaroni Arena this evening but the good news is that manager Csaba Laszlo thinks he will make it.

Laszlo said: “Bilel had treatment on Wednesday and more today so he will be OK.”

Mohsni’s recovery is both welcome and timely, with likely replacement Mark Durnan not having trained because of a virus and skipper Willo Flood out through suspension.

That play-off boost was accompanied by the revelation that Mohsni, who has been capped six times by his country, has been named in Tunisia’s provisional squad for the World Cup finals in Russia this summer, where they will face England, Belgium and Panama in Group G.

Laszlo confirmed: “Bilel got good news that he is selected for the national team for the World Cup and he is fighting to be part of things in Russia.

“He got the letter and the news is that he is now selected and is in the frame (for the final squad).

“If he travels this will be great for Dundee United that we have someone who goes with their national team to the World Cup.

“This can be a great development for the club.

“You see how important the name Dundee United is in Europe and it is important that a player who comes here can make World Cups.”

Laszlo revealed that he has been urging Mohsni to repay the club for giving him a path back into football by signing a deal to stay at Tannadice beyond the end of the season.

The Hungarian said: “We have an offer definitely and he can sign any time – the offer is there.

“To be honest, I have now put a little bit of pressure on Bilel.

“Look, I was the only one manager who gave him the chance not only to come back to Scotland but even to play football.

“He had a problem with his last club. He was also injured and nobody offered him a contract.

“I hope that he will show commitment to us because we want him not just for one year.

“He can stay here longer and we can build something up together. He can be part of this.”

As for the absence of Flood tonight because of his red card, Laszlo added: “I will miss Willo because he is a good captain and especially in the last games he was good and is always positive.”

The Tannadice gaffer has spent the week telling his players there is still everything to play for tonight and he is confident the message has gotten through.

He said: “I was really disappointed after Monday’s game because we controlled the game for 80 minutes and tried to score a third goal.

“It was individual mistakes that cost us.

“Now, definitely, there will be more nerves and a completely different tactical game in Livingston.

“We have talked about it and I am confident the players understand.

“They know the chance is still there and in the 90 minutes they have to pay more, let’s say, attention and be more positive than in the first game.”

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