DUNDEE ARE getting their club captain back, in a major boost for the club going into the hectic festive period.
Stephen O’Donnell featured in the Dark Blues’ under-20 match against Motherwell at Fir Park last night in what was a major step back towards full fitness.
The skipper has been sidelined since August by a hamstring injury, limiting his appearances this season to only four.
His craft in the middle of the park has been badly missed but now he is reaching the end of the road to recovery and could appear in Barry Smith’s side sooner rather than later.
“It is great that Stephen is feeling good enough to go and play,” said the Dens boss. “It would be a huge boost to get him back.
“He is the club captain so is an important player to us. We will just see how he is, having played the match. It is case of trial and error but hopefully all goes well with him.”
Also on the comeback trail is frontman Mark Stewart.
Smith confirmed: “Mark is back in training and that’s great for him. It is also good for the club because he is someone who has experience who has played at a good level.
“Mark works hard and is very quick, which is something we will be looking to use. He is just a wee bit different to the other strikers we have.
“Overall, we have plenty of injuries so it is good to be getting people back.”
Smith will need as many options as possible available to him for what will be a packed programme that begins with a trip to Inverness on Saturday, sees them host Celtic on Boxing Day night, welcome Aberdeen to Dens on the 29th then travel to play St Johnstone on January 2.
It may be a busy time but he believes his squad will relish the games.
“When you are a footballer you want to play,” said Smith. “That is your job and you are desperate to play in these games over Christmas.
“You get used to it and it is just part and parcel of being a professional footballer.”