Dundee boss Barry Smith has revealed captain Stephen O’Donnell is close to a return to first team action, although tomorrow’s league match with St Mirren might be a step too far for the skipper.
O’Donnell, who has not featured since being forced off during the friendly defeat to Dundee United, has been struggling with a groin injury that ultimately required a scan, but the 29-year-old should be available for selection within days.
However, Smith confirmed he will not risk pitching O’Donnell straight into battle against the Buddies at the weekend.
”I thought we might have had him back for this weekend but, by the same token, the injury is a lot better than what it was when he played against United in the friendly,” Smith explained.
”We don’t want to set him back by putting him in earlier.”
Nicky Riley, Carl Finnigan, Jamie McCluskey and Kevin McBride will also remain sidelined through injury this weekend, with the latter expected to be out for up to a month as a result of his foot problem.
And despite being unveiled as a new signing a week ago, defender Davide Grassi is still awaiting the necessary paperwork that will allow him to make his debut on Saturday.
Courier Sport understands the blame for the delay lies at the door of the Italian Football Federation, although Smith is hopeful the move can be rubber-stamped within the next 24 hours.
”It’s just taking time, but we just get on with it – I don’t think there’s any point sitting and worrying about it,” he added.
”We just get on with it, deal with it, move on.”
The Dark Blues also confirmed that no new players are likely to be in before tomorrow’s first SPL home game, but plenty of irons remain in the fire.
”I’m always trying to bring players in that will make the squad better,” Smith noted.
”We’ve still got people who are unattached that we’re talking to, but the closer it gets to the weekend the less likely something’s going to happen.
”The boys have been good all week.
”They’ve worked hard and it’s about keeping the momentum from last Saturday and then into this Saturday and beyond.
”Momentum is a good word to use, but we won’t be able to rely on that for the whole season.
”At the moment it’s about keeping the fans behind us, as they have been.
”There will be highs and lows throughout the season but at the moment we need to keep going forward.”
Meanwhile, Dundee fans have been clamouring for tickets for the August 19 derby after they went on sale from Dens Park.
The ticket office was open until 7pm last night, and any remaining tickets will be sold between 10am and 5pm today and between 10am and kick-off tomorrow.
United confirmed on Wednesday that they have sold out their allocation for the much-anticipated clash.
Dundee also confirmed yesterday that their ‘pay at the gate’ prices for the SPL season will be the same for all SPL home games.
There will be no category A and B tickets and entry will be £20 for adults and £10 for concessions and senior citizens.