Mark Reynolds could still be fantastic on plastic for Dundee United after manager Robbie Neilson backed him to play on artificial surfaces.
The central defender, who is loan from Aberdeen, suffered a cruciate ligament injury when turning out for the Dons in a pre-season game to officially open Cove Rangers’ Balmoral Stadium.
That surface in Cove was a plastic one and Reynolds has since gone on record to say that because of how that serious knee injury came about he would be restricted to playing on grass for the rest of this season.
That cast doubt on his involvement in United’s Championship game down at Queen of the South on Saturday and the following weekend’s fixture at Falkirk, with both clubs having made the switch.
However, Neilson believes Reynolds is likely to remain at the heart of the Tangerines’ backline alongside Mark Connolly.
The United boss, asked if he would be without the 31-year-old former Motherwell man for Palmerston, said: “We have still to have that conversation but he knows he has to play.
“When you play in Scottish football you play on astro.
“It is just about getting to the stage where he is comfortable.
“He has trained on it with us a few times and will train on it again towards the end of the week.
“We will then make a call on it but his knee is in great condition at the moment.
“We just need to make sure it is the right thing for him.
“We will have a chat but I think he will be fine.
“It is about getting over it.
“The astro is a bit different from grass because there is a bit more force goes through your leg when you make your movements.
“On the other hand, it can be a lot more stable because you can slide on grass and there are uneven bits.
“You don’t have that wee bit of give on the astro but you just have to get on with it because we have these surfaces in Scottish football.
“Mark has played 400 and odd games in the top league and also played in Europe.
“He knows if he is not quite 100% how to get himself through a game.”
Neilson expects to be without midfielder Calum Butcher for this league game plus the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final against either Ross County or Inverness Caley Thistle, scheduled for March 2 or 3.
Butcher was sent off against St Mirren and is likely to get a two-match ban.
As for the cup draw, Neilson gave it a cautious welcome, acknowledging that it could have been a lot tougher than a Tannadice match against a fellow second-tier side.
He said: “It is a home tie against a Championship team so we are pleased with it.
“I believe the club have been drawn away most of the time in the cup so that’s a nice change.
“We have three games before that, though, so we can’t afford to get carried away with it.
“It is great to be in the hat again, especially for the fans, but we have some tough leagues games coming up.”