Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson says he is delighted to have defender Mark Connolly back in contention for tonight’s derby.
Connolly had been out for nine weeks after tearing a hamstring in United’s 6-2 win in the last derby at Tannadice back in August (see video below) but made his return in a win at Inverness last weekend.
The Irish centre-half is now available for selection for this evening’s clash at Dens and Robbie is pleased to have one of his leaders back in the fold.
“We were pleased. He’s a big player for us, not just playing-wise but also his leadership in the group,” he said.
“We made a conscious decision because he wasn’t meant to be involved on Saturday but we wanted to bring him up with us to Inverness.
“We knew having a presence there in the dressing-room and getting him 10-15 minutes gets him back to first-team action. He’s played in the reserves on Tuesday, 45 minutes in that but it’s not the same as a first-team game so it was important he got that.
“I’m delighted to see him back and, although he didn’t have a massive influence on the pitch, he did off it.
“He’ll be fine for tonight. He’s played in the reserves so, hopefully, we can get him for the derby.
“It’s important to have leaders in the group. We’ve got Mark Reynolds, Connolly, Calum Butcher who are probably three of the bigger characters.
“There’s a few young ones as well that need that leadership so we’ve missed him.”
Robbie also praised the man likely to start in the heart of the defence, Paul Watson, adding: “I thought he did exceptionally well last Saturday. He was very composed on the ball and dealt with the physicality of Jordan White.”