James McPake had no doubt Jordon Forster would return to the Dundee first team in top form after admitting he had to take the centre-back out of the firing line.
The Dark Blues boss made the difficult decision to take his former Hibs team-mate out of his starting XI for a six-week spell after a costly mistake against Queen of the South gifted Stephen Dobbie a winning goal.
However, Forster has come back with a bang after a strong performance at Morton last week and a display that earned the sponsor’s Man of the Match award against Partick Thistle.
Dens boss James said: “Fozzy started the season well.
“He had a couple of wee errors but that happens.
“The one against Queens, if it’s not against somebody like Dobbie that can dink it over the goalkeeper, you might get away with it.
“That was then compounded and you feel a wee bit fragile, I’ve been there as a centre-back making a mistake and it’s tough.
“Sometimes you just need taken out even though you don’t want it.
“I know what Fozzy is like – he’s blood and guts or whatever you want to call it.
“The last two games he’s been great, I don’t think he’s lost a header and he’s got back to defending, which we’ve asked him to do.”
Coming back into the team also was club captain Josh Meekings alongside January capture Christophe Berra.
With Jordan McGhee also set to return after surgery to his wrist in the next few fixtures, James will have some tough decisions to make if his defenders maintain the levels reached against the Jags.
“I thought Josh coming back did well, Jordan McGhee has been great all season, but you see a difference in everybody since Christophe has come in.
“That’s even players in front of him, not just the two centre-backs beside him, he calms everything down.
“I think the three centre-backs complemented each other well and against Partick they were great.
“Meeks and Berra were good the week before.
“We have options there, which is great, and we also have the one who has been the most consistent in that position, McGhee, coming back in the next week or two.
“It’s great decisions to have to make. I might go to four central defenders at the back!”
One whose season is almost certainly over is on-loan midfielder Ross Callachan after he suffered a fractured fibula late in the game against Partick.
The 26-year-old is a free agent in the summer with his St Johnstone contract expiring but, for now, it seems like his time with the Dark Blues is over.
“He’s had his operation and it has gone well,” James added.
“We’re gutted for him. He’d been doing really well for us. He has added to our dressing-room in terms of his personality. And you could see he was adding on the pitch as well.
“He’s got quality and was getting up the pitch close to Kano, which was exactly what we were asking of him.
“It’s a sore one to lose him.
“The season is probably done for him, I would imagine.”
Meanwhile, Cammy Kerr and McGhee’s surgeries went without hitches last week and both have a chance of returning to face Queen of the South next Saturday.
“Cammy is nearly running already. The tidy-up went very well. The break has come at a good time.
“Cammy and Jordan will maybe be back for Queens but it might be the following week.
“Cammy was getting to the point I was getting worried that the more he pushed himself, the more likely he could do greater damage. He’s the type who would have just kept going.”