Dundee United are hopeful of having a specialist central defensive pairing available when they head for Livingston on Friday week.
Continuing fitness problems for Tam Scobbie and William Edjenguele plus a training knock picked up by Paul Quinn meant Stewart Murdoch had to be used as an emergency centre-half alongside Mark Durnan in Sunday’s Scottish Cup defeat at Aberdeen.
Scobbie has been out since last month with a calf problem, Edjenguele is back in training but hasn’t been available since December because of a broken foot and now Quinn has a thigh strain.
Hopes are, however, at least one of them will be ready for next week.
Given the length of time the other two have been absent, ideally that would be Quinn.
If none of them make it, that would leave no option other than to continue with Murdoch at the centre of the defence.
Sunday was his first game there and, although he’s recognised as first choice right-back, it’s only in the last year he’s switched from midfield.
Meanwhile, there has been more positive news of some of those on the long term injury list.
James Keatings has had his scheduled surgery on a hip problem and will be able to start his rebab in the near future.
And Scott Fraser remains on course to be back in full training by next month.
He has now dispensed with the protective boot he’s been wearing since breaking a metatarsal at St Mirren at the end of December.
That should see him back doing light running first, though having suffered the injury twice in eight months, United will be cautious with him.