Dundee United boss Csaba Laszlo has admitted key man Fraser Fyvie may not be risked on Falkirk’s plastic pitch.
The Tangerines captain was back with a bang against Morton at Tannadice last weekend, coming off the bench to score a late equaliser.
Even in those 17 minutes, Fyvie showed what a pivotal player he can be for United.
His manager, though, is determined to take no risks with someone who has only just recovered from a serious knee injury.
That includes being cautious about tomorrow’s trip to face the Bairns on their artificial surface.
Laszlo said: “I have spoken to Fraser about this.
“He still hasn’t decided (about Falkirk) because psychologically it is a factor. He isn’t that long back.
“It will be a decision based on protecting the player long-term and not just to do with one game.
“It will be a decision taken between himself and me.
“You saw the way he came off the bench last week and scored against Morton just how important he is to the team and the physio and doctors have worked really hard to get him back.
“He told me on Saturday that he still isn’t ready for 90 minutes or maybe even 45 minutes.
“We need him for long-term and I’m working so that he is good in that respect. That’s the truth of the matter.”
It must be extremely frustrating for Laszlo to be facing the possibility of not having his most influential player available because of a pitch.
The game looks to be, after all, a must-win for him due to the growing unhappiness with the team’s form and results.
There were calls for him to go as United struggled to a draw at home to Morton and those will only increase in volume should they toil against a Bairns team managed by his predecessor Ray McKinnon that has yet to secure a league point.
Asked if was under pressure, Laszlo replied: “The league finishes next year but we want to be in the top division and to achieve that we have to win games.
“So the pressure is always there.
“From the first moment that I came to Dundee United it was always clear to me that every single game would be a pressure match because the target for this club is to be back in the Premiership.
“We want that to happen this season so we have to be at the top. This is pressure.
“We don’t want to see maybe one or two teams getting away and opening up a gap.
“We want to close the gap on the teams above us and then go top ourselves.”
Asked about the negative chants aimed at him last Saturday, he added: “It is not personal.
“I don’t have any problem if many people criticise our performance because they have paid money and want to see the team win.
“I was really, really happy about the team that we did not give up in the last few minutes and I think my message to the fans was that we wanted it, we wanted it.
“We got the goal and I think everybody understands how painful it is if you lose the game.”
The Hungarian doesn’t believe that McKinnon’s presence in the opposition will be a major factor tomorrow.
He said: “I don’t care about that. It will be an important Championship game that both clubs will be looking to fight for the three points – that’s all.”
While there is a big doubt over Fyvie’s involvement, Billy King is fit and ready to play.
Sam Stanton has done some running and will join in training next week when his hernia finally heals, while Nicky Clark should also train with his teammates next week after suffering from an Achilles injury.
Laszlo said: “If everything goes well, we will have nearly everyone back training soon which is a big boost.
“Within two weeks or so, we will have all out players back at full power and ready to play.”