United will be ready for competitive action after weekend of friendlies

© SNSDundee United coach Lee McCulloch.
Dundee United coach Lee McCulloch.

Dundee United’s short and sharp pre-season build-up reaches its climax this weekend with trips to Brechin and Dumbarton in the space of less than 24 hours.

And joint-assistant boss Lee McCulloch is confident it will have the players ready for the real ball coming out when the Tangerines head for Hearts in the Betfred Cup a week tonight.

The entire first-team squad will be on duty this evening and tomorrow, with the players who play most of the 90 minutes at Glebe Park getting less time tomorrow and vice versa.

While that means they will have had less than three games by the time the competitive action kicks off, McCulloch has no worries over their readiness.

“They didn’t have that long a break from the end of last season, so I don’t think it has to be like a normal pre-season where it’s running in the morning, running in the afternoon. It’s all about fitness,” he said.

“I don’t think they’ve lost much fitness and there is no fitness like match fitness. They’ve played 45 last weekend (at East Fife) and now they will get more game time to set us up for a really difficult game at Tynecastle.”

Fans heading up the A90 tonight should get their first glimpse of big summer signing Lawrence Shankland after he completed his switch from Ayr United in midweek.

Having not done as much training as the majority of the rest of the squad, it could be the striker starts this one on the bench.

Recent signing Adrian Sporle as well as central midfield pair Calum Butcher and Ian Harkes are set to start after missing the game at New Bayview because of minor injury problems. That will leave just Peter Pawlett without a game so far.