Dundee’s main man Charlie Adam is a major doubt for their big Championship clash with league leaders Hearts this weekend.
The Dark Blues welcome Robbie Neilson’s Jambos to Dens Park on Saturday night hoping to avenge the 6-2 drubbing dished out at Tynecastle in October and, in the process, ignite a title challenge.
However, they may have to do it without talisman Adam after he limped off in the latter stages of Tuesday’s victory over Alloa Athletic.
After the match boss James McPake said the midfielder was OK, however he’s now revealed there is “real worry” Adam won’t be fit with the problem worse than initially thought.
“We are worried about Charlie,” McPake said.
“It’s his thigh again but the injury is a bit different to before, he needs a scan but its hard trying to get a scan this time of year.
“We’ll work away on him and give him to the very last minute.
“It’s a real worry. We’ll give him every chance but we have other players to play there.
“If Charlie isn’t right we’ll just have to deal with it.”
There are no further worries for Paul McGowan, though, after he was also brought off against the Wasps.
However, there was bad news for striker Alex Jakubiak. The former Watford man is now likely to be out for two to three months and is scheduled to have surgery on his thigh next week.
‘Mammoth effort’ needed
Meanwhile, McPake says Saturday’s clash is a chance to show his team have moved on from the opening day defeat at Tynecastle though he admits it will take a “mammoth effort” to take three points this weekend.
On the 6-2 opening day defeat, the Dens boss said: “They did their homework on us and it worked that night.
“Charlie Adam and Graham Dorrans didn’t get much of the ball and we conceded sloppy goals at bad times.
“We defended really poorly as a group and we were caught cold.
“But that was a long time ago, we have different players in and are in a stronger position.
“We’re unbeaten in five with two wins on the bounce and we’re looking to make that three.
“It’s a tough test, we know that.
“They are top of the league for a reason and have had a really good start to the season.
“They have the biggest budget by a mile in the league and are everybody’s favourite because of that.
“It will take a mammoth effort on Saturday, we know that.”
Hearts have been relentless for much of the season, winning eight of their nine games and losing just the once to Dunfermline in November.
That’s seen them open up a five-point lead at the top of the table with a game in hand.
And McPake says if Dundee are going to get back to the Premiership they’ll need to put together that kind of form in the new year.
“Consistency is key and I keep going back to that,” he added.
“That’s what will define our season. We need to avoid the ups and downs we had last season.
“Consistency is what gets you out of this league – that’s what’s got Robbie out of this league a couple of times.
“Also the Ross County team that won a couple of years ago were able to go on a run.
“And to give yourselves a chance in the play-offs you need consistency through the season.
“Saturday is a chance to show we are on the right track.”