Dundee Utd V Motherwell at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

18 April 2013 06:01
Dundee Utd V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Watson sidelined for United

Dundee United full-back Keith Watson will sit out Friday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Motherwell after boss Jackie McNamara admitted his Hampden exertions had taken their toll.

The Tannadice defender picked up a knock in training ahead of Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic but was passed fit before battling through 120 minutes of action as United went down 4-3 in extra-time.

Now McNamara - who is also monitoring Barry Douglas' shoulder injury - has confirmed Watson will be unavailable for the trip to Fir Park as the post SPL split fixtures kick-off.

Striker Johnny Russell, meanwhile, remains on the sidelines as he recovers from his broken fibula and midfield man Mark Millar is suspended.

United were left distraught last Sunday as they pushed SPL leaders Celtic all the way to extra-time in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden, only to lose 4-3.

After sealing a top-six slot with their last-gasp victory over Aberdeen a fortnight ago, a Europa League slot is now the Tannadice outfit's next objective.

But they have some way to go to rein in third-place Inverness, seven points in front with just five games to play.

Gary Mackay-Steven, though, is determined to do just that, saying: "Now that we are in the top six, qualifying for Europe has become the next massive incentive for us to push on.

"It would mean we could say this season had been a real success and we feel we are capable of doing it.

"At times I feared we would never get in the position to challenge for a Europa League slot. We've dropped a lot of points this season.

"But we thankfully we got ourselves into the top six. We start on Friday against Motherwell but we know they have got a lot of threats going forward. They have had a great season so far but we will try to take the game to them on Friday."

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has a full squad to choose from.

The Fir Park fans will be looking to the talismanic James McFadden, in his second spell at the club, and Well's top scorer Michael Higdon, to help cement second place in the table.

Both forwards scored in the 2-2 draw against St Mirren in the Steelmen's last outing to keep them three points clear of chasing Inverness.

McCall insists United will not be too affected by their 4-3 extra-time William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic at Hampden Park last week.

He said: "I think they will be good. They were terrific (against Celtic) and they on their day they are as good as anything in this league.

"But I'm sure they will be looking at our forwards, James McFadden, Chris Humphrey, Henrik Ojamaa, Michael Higdon and players like Nicky Law and Keith Lasley, so it has the makings of an open game."

Source: PA