Csaba Laszlo has urged Scott Allardice to use the build-up to the league campaign to show he can become a mainstay at the heart of the Dundee United defence.
Initially the 20-year-old was regarded as a central midfielder but his most recent appearances have been at centre-half.
That’s where he played during an 11-game loan spell at East Fife towards the end of last season and is the position in which he was deployed in United’s friendly at Brechin on Tuesday.
And while Csaba hasn’t ruled out using him in the middle of the park, it’s clear he believes the youth international has the potential to be a ball-playing centre half.
“Scott Allardice is getting the chance at the moment and he has to use the chance,” said the manager.
“Last season he went out on loan, this season I have told him I will give him the chance in the pre-season games so that he will make steps forward.
“He can play at No 6 too but I think he feels comfortable in the centre of defence because he is facing the game. Then he doesn’t have to turn.”
Despite adding Belgian Frederic Frans last month, United are still looking to add another central defender and could do business over the next few days.
That could limit Allardice’s game time but Csaba wants to see him challenge for a place.
Even if that does not happen immediately, he believes if he continues to work on his game he can develop into a good defender.
“Generally, I want his long balls and contribution with his passing to be more accurate,” he added.
“He wants to do too much and he has to play it more simple but it’s not a problem because for a young guy he is doing well.”
Csaba added: “He won a lot of one-on-one situations in the air at Brechin this week and with the passing game we played he did well. I think he is a guy with a future.”
The Tangerines will be back in action tomorrow when they face Raith Rovers behind closed doors at their St Andrews training base.
And work to fix up a final friendly in the middle of next week is still ongoing.
The aim is for that game to be open to fans, though it’s not clear yet if it would be at Tannadice.