Dundee new boy Darren O’Dea is on stand-by for this weekend’s Scottish Cup clash, despite the fact he only arrived at Dens on Thursday.
Boss Paul Hartley is refusing to rule out the Republic of Ireland international from his XI to take on Falkirk at Dens.
Former Celtic man O’Dea, who the gaffer also tried to snap up last summer, penned a deal until the end of the season yesterday. And Paul is still weighing up whether to throw the 28-year-old, signed as a direct replacement for injured James McPake, in from the off.
“We will wait and see how he is after today’s session,” said Paul, who spent two-and-a-half years playing alongside O’Dea at Celtic.
“It was his first training session yesterday [Thursday].
“He has not played for four or five weeks, so that is a factor but we will assess him before the game.”
With just two days training under his belt and having not kicked a ball since the Indian Super League ended more than a month ago, where he turned out for Mumbai City, it would be a risk.
But Paul’s options are limited, given that Julen Etxabeguren, Gary Irvine and Daryll Meggat join fellow-defender McPake on the treatment table. Another knock in the run-up to the clash could force his hand.
Whether he plays or not, Paul is delighted with his new acquisition.
“It’s a great signing for us — we’re absolutely delighted to get him,” said the Dee boss.
“James got injured and we knew we had to find someone quickly.
“The minute Darren came up, we made sure we tried our best to get him.
“He had a couple of other things on the go. Other clubs were interested in him.
“He is the ideal fit for us in terms of his age, experience and where he has played.
“We felt we wanted some experience in that position. We were offered younger centre-halves but we needed more experience.
“I know him as a player and I know him as a person, so I have no worries about him fitting in to our side.”
Injury victim McPake has been released from hospital, Paul confirmed, and is in high spirits as he begins the long road back to recovery.
“I spoke to him and he is out of the hospital,” he said.
“He is well. The thing about James is that he has a very strong mentality.
“He has been through worse injuries than this in the past.
“He wants to come back fitter and stronger.
“I think he definitely has the determination to do that.”
On Peter Houston’s Falkirk, Paul is expecting no easy afternoon.
“I have been to see them in the last few games — they are good,” said Paul.
“They’ve had a good season. The manager has a solid group of players and they have proved in the cup recently that they are a match for anyone.
“We know we have to be at our best to get a result out of it.”