Dundee United are planning a bounce game today to get a string of likely first-team regulars close to full fitness.
And it could see some of them involved at some stage in Saturday’s Championship opener at Inverness, although manager Ray McKinnon admitted next week’s Betfred derby at Dundee may prove a more realistic target.
“We are going to play a bounce game to get a game into Scott McDonald, James Keatings, if we can, and Stewart Murdoch,” said Ray.
“If we can get them 60 minutes it would do them a lot of good and they wouldn’t be far away.”
As the Tele revealed, Murdoch has been back in full training this week and it’s not impossible he’ll be in the squad for the Highlands trip.
If Keatings was to make it, it would represent a remarkable recovery after damaging ankle ligaments just a fortnight ago.
For McDonald, it’s a case of getting match sharpness, though he’s a definite absentee this weekend because of suspension.
With the other two, Ray will only consider using them on Saturday if he’s convinced they’re 100% recovered.
“Murdo is looking great. Knowing Murdo, we could probably throw him in on Saturday because he’ll want to play.
“However, I think it might be better to give him a week’s training and make sure he’s ready.
“And I’m astounded with James Keatings — actually did a wee bit of training on Tuesday.
“Whether he’s going to be ready I don’t know but he’s pushing himself and that’s a great sign.
“We thought it would be six weeks but that will only be two-and-a-half come Saturday and it’d be incredible if he can declare himself fit.”
On Sunday, United’s annual Meet the Players day is taking place at Tannadice.
Arranged by the United Business Club in conjunction with the Tangerines, fans will get the chance to see the players put through their paces in a special training session before getting up close to the supporters for an autograph-signing session.
The team will also take part in the “Biggest Home Game” that will see them battled it out with 100 young fans who’ve won the opportunity to take part.
Entry is free and the gates of the Eddie Thompson Stand will be open from 10 am.