Club captain Willo Flood is set to give Dundee United a festive boost by returning early from his dislocated shoulder.
The influential midfielder has been out since leaving the field in agony late in the Tannadice win over Dunfermline at the beginning of the month.
That forced him to miss the win at Morton and he was still out as the Tangerines’ trip to Queen of the South was abandoned at half-time because of ice on the Palmerston pitch.
And the Irishman was not expected to be ready to return until a week or two into the new year.
His recovery, however, has been going well and this week will see Flood step up his training. That could give him an outside chance of being ready when Livingston visit Tannadice on Saturday.
Even if he does not make that one, he’s confident he will be ready for the top-of-the-table clash at St Mirren on Friday week.
If United and the Buddies win this weekend, a victory in Paisley would see them return to the top of the table with a game in hand over their main rivals. They’d then be looking to consolidate that position with another success when Brechin City first foot Tannadice on January 2.
Although Sam Stanton has shown himself to be an able deputy during the skipper’s absence, his partnership with Fraser Fyvie in central midfield has been the foundation for United’s unbeaten league run under Csaba Laszlo.
Meanwhile, Csaba says his United players showed him what he wanted to see in their first half against Queen of the South — all that was missing was the finishing touch.
A number of chances went begging for the Tangerines but the manager was pleased with the showing from his side.
He said: “We tried to dominate the opponent and we created chances.
“Just only we missed — I think we had two or three maybe nearly 100% possibilities but we don’t score.
“I was a little bit sad because we really played good football and we just had to put the ball in the net.
“Billy King had the possibility to even score a hat-trick even before half time!
“Anyway, I saw what I wanted to see. To create three or maybe more excellent chances means the players have the confidence and that is good.”