Dundee sweat over fitness of defensive duo

Dundee’s Bulgarian centre-back Kosta Gadzhalov is a doubt for Sunday’s visit of Rangers while Julen Etxabeguren has an Achilles problem.

Dundee face a defensive headache as they wait on the fitness of both Julen Etxabeguren and Kosta Gadzhalov.

Etxabeguren missed the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at the weekend with an Achilles problem while fellow-centre back Gadzhalov is also a fitness worry ahead of the weekend visit of Rangers.

With time before Sunday’s match against the Glasgow giants, boss Paul Hartley is hopeful he’ll have them available.

He said: “We’ve got a couple we’re waiting on just now.

“We’ve got a few more days, Etxabeguren is still struggling, Kosta as well but we’ll assess them over the next couple of days.”

If both were to miss out, that would leave just two fit and available centre-backs in Darren O’Dea and Kevin Gomis.

Meanwhile, it looks likely caretaker manager Graeme Murty will be in charge for the Ibrox club at Dens on Sunday.

And Paul admitted he was surprised to see former boss Mark Warburton leave the Glasgow side last Friday.

“I think it was a big surprise — you saw Mark Warburton doing his presser on the Friday and then it changed within a few hours.

“I spoke to David Weir last week and you don’t have any indication something’s not right so it was a big surprise but nothing surprises you in football now I don’t think.

“It was done really quickly but they’ve put somebody in temporary charge, they managed to get a good result.

“Will they have somebody in charge before the game? It doesn’t look likely but you never know what can happen in the next few days.”

With the spotlight firmly on the visitors, Paul is keen to see his side take no notice of the media circus surrounding the game.

He said: “We’re the sideshow for the game.

“All the attention’s going to be on Rangers, probably more Press attention at the game — we’ve just got to focus on getting a result against them.

“How we can get the three points and how can we hurt them.

“How we can exploit their weaknesses.

“We don’t really think about what’s going on behind the scenes at Rangers.

“Obviously there’s been a lot going on over the last week but our main focus is to try and get a result.”

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