Benjamin Siegrist is set to miss Dundee United’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Aberdeen as the Tannadice club nervously await results of a follow-up scan.
The Swiss goalkeeper was forced to withdraw from United’s 1-0 triumph over Forfar in the previous round after sustaining a wrist injury during the warm-up at Station Park.
A subsequent X-ray allayed fears that Siegrist — the most prolific shot-stopper in the Premiership this season — had suffered a fracture. Nevertheless, he is yet to resume training at United’s St Andrew’s base.
Boss Micky Mellon is now playing the waiting game, with a prognosis due in the next 24 hours, but Deniz Mehmet is expected to start his third fixture in succession between the sticks on Sunday in place of Siegrist.
“He’s not looking good,” Said Mellon, when quizzed on his number one’s potential availability. “He’s still not training and is waiting on results of a scan to see where he is.
“The X-ray said that it’s not broken but we feel that it needs a scan to find out more about what his injury is.
“We’ll do that and, by the end of the week, we should know more.
“He’s a big player for us; a big character and personality. And when you are in football as long as I have been, you understand how personalities effect groups and how important they are to have in them.
“But, he’s not available and we move on. We now look at somebody else and put the expectations on them to perform in a way they would be needed to win the game.”
While Richard Foster’s ill-judged — even if in jest — comment of ‘this might sound horrible, but I hope he has broken his wrist or his hand’ has not come to fruition, the severity of Siegrist’s injury is yet to be ascertained.
Asked whether an apology had been forthcoming for Siegrist, Mellon added: “I don’t know, I haven’t had the chance to speak to him about that.
“I saw that he was upset and I said that I was disappointed by what was said. From there, it is over to the relevant people to make amends if they believe it needs to happen.”
If, as expected, Siegrist plays no part at Pittodrie, the onus will again fall to Mehmet to deputise.
They are big gloves to fill, and the 28-year-old looked none too clever for Killie’s opener in the 3-0 reverse on Wednesday night, flapping at a Chris Burke cross, allowing Kyle Lafferty to head home.
However, Mellon will retain the same lofty expectations he has of all his players.
“Deniz is the goalkeeper and we expect him to go out there and perform in a way that gives us a chance to win the game,” continued Mellon. “He’s no different to anyone else in that.
“On Sunday, if he’s playing, he’ll be expected to perform well.
“Those are the standards we judge him by here. We expect our goalkeepers to do what good goalkeepers do and — when they don’t — we’ll tell them what a top goalkeeper should, and would, have done in that situation.”
Early indications are that Mehmet and his colleagues in the United back-line could be busy in the Granite City, in spite of their fine record of one win and two draws from their three outings against the Dons this term.
In his two matches in charge to date, the elemental stages of Stephen Glass’ Aberdeen side has been visible. Attacking; creative; pro-active.
On Wednesday night, the Reds were one Leigh Griffiths header away from defeating Celtic for the first time in 15 attempts.
“It’s still very early days and he’s working with the last manager’s players,” continued Mellon. “But I’m sure there will be little bits that change.
“He might be attempting to do things a wee bit differently — but we know that Aberdeen have good players and what they will attempt to do in terms of style and how they want to try and play.
“We’ll have to try and counteract that and try and exploit that and play the way that we need to play as well.
“The longer a manager is there, the more you find out what they are trying to achieve when they have the ball and how the operate without it. But we will watch and gather as much information as we can.”
Seeking to dust themselves off following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of a Kyle Lafferty-inspired Kilmarnock on Wednesday (albeit it was a much-changed, youthful United ensemble) it would be fair to say a trip to Hampden could turn a solid campaign into a good one.
“In terms of ‘Is it the biggest game of the season?’ Yeah it is, because it’s the next one,” smiled Mellon, when asked to underline the importance of Sunday’s showdown.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve had to work very hard to get into this position. We’ll go and attack it and try to win that prize of a semi-final at Hampden.”
However, Mellon is adamant it would be folly to get too caught up in thoughts of leading his men out at the national stadium.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do and we have a massive game at the weekend before I can even start to think about that,” he added. “If we play well, and if we get the result, I’ll be able to speak about that after the game.
“For the moment, we’ll work towards making sure that the players are in the right frame of mind to go up there, perform and do themselves justice in a massive game at Pittodrie.”