Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has a full squad to choose from for tonight’s derby – barring injury-plagued attacker Peter Pawlett.
Pawlett has not played since coming off with a hamstring injury after just three minutes in the 1-0 win over Partick at the end of October.
Making his way back from that problem, the 28-year-old was expected to be in the squad for the rained-off clash at Morton in late November. However, he rolled his ankle in the week before.
That now means the former Aberdeen and MK Dons winger is not set to return until the new year.
Robbie said: “Everyone came through Ayr fine last weekend. There’s a couple of wee niggles – Paul McMullan and Sam Stanton didn’t train on Monday but they were back in on Wednesday.
“We’re still trying to build Peter Pawlett up. He’s been running recently and, to be honest, I’d probably expect him back after the Queen of the South game.”
Despite the absence of Pawlett, and other key men like star striker Lawrence Shankland, for parts of the season, Robbie has been pleased with the rest of his squad stepping up to the plate.
“I think it’s very important,” he added.
“At the start of the season, Shanks was scoring all the goals and the focus was on him.
“We lost him to the Scotland call-up and then injury, so everyone externally was asking how we’re going to score goals.
“But we’ve got guys who can score. Ian Harkes and Nicky Clark have been on great runs, Sam Stanton at the moment. There are goals outwith Shanks.”
With tonight’s game headed for a sell-out, Robbie has stressed his players understand the magnitude of the clash and believes they can thrive under the atmosphere.
“The players know – they all live here and kids go to school in the area, so they know the build-up of it and what’s going on. We all know it’s going to be a huge game.
“I thought it was phenomenal that night (the 6-2 win in August). Probably the best I’ve seen it ever.
“I played at Tannadice for a period, and in some big games, but that was the best atmosphere I’d seen anyway.
“Hopefully, we’ll have the same again tonight.”