Josh Meekings and Julen Etxabeguren ‘looking brilliant’ says Dundee boss Neil McCann

© David Young
Dundee's defensive ranks will be further boosted by the return of Josh Meekings and Julen Extabeguren.

Dundee boss Neil McCann says centre-back Josh Meekings “is looking brilliant” as he nears a debut for the Dark Blues.

After leaving Inverness over the summer following a serious knee injury, the 25-year-old has been working on his recovery at Dens Park since the summer.

Neil got him signed up in mid-August but has had to be patient before getting him anywhere near a maiden appearance.

He has featured in practice matches and played in Wednesday’s development side match against Ross County at Dens Park.

Another long-term injury worry, Julen Etxabeguren also played in the win over the Highland outfit and gaffer Neil is looking to have them back available after the international break.

The Dens boss said: “Meekings is looking brilliant, I have to say.

“So is Julen. They’ve played a couple of practice matches and we’ll stretch them.

“Neither of them were ready to be involved in the game against Hearts but they played in Wednesday’s game which sees them pretty much ready after the international break.”

The return of two central defenders, though, will give Neil some tough decisions to make.

Defensive numbers certainly aren’t an issue at Dens with seven first-team centre-backs on the books.

And Meekings and Etxabeguren will have their work cut out to dislodge youngsters Kerr Waddell and Jack Hendry while club captain Darren O’Dea’s experience is vital in a young backline.

Those three played well in the 2-1 victory over Hearts at the weekend and will be tough for the freshly-fit pair to take their places.

Also waiting in the wings is Kosta Gadzhalov while James McPake is continuing his recovery attempts from his own serious knee injury.

Neil said: “It’s a fantastic decision to have to make — that’s what we’ve been after.

“Josh has been looking good in training but you can’t expect him to go straight in after such a long time out.

“After the international break, all going well, Josh and Jules will be ready to start pushing themselves for inclusion.”

In yesterday’s Development contest, Meekings and Etxabeguren were joined by fellow first-team stars Gadzhalov and James Vincent in a 2-0 victory over Ross County.

The Dark Blues went six points clear at the top of the table with goals from John Smith and Jesse Curran.