Motherwell ready to put faith in youth at Tannadice

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall insists he has no qualms about giving youth a chance against Dundee United after revealing he could be without as many as eight players for tonight’s SPFL Premiership clash.

Stuart McCall is philosophical about needing to use young players. Picture: SNS
Stuart McCall is philosophical about needing to use young players. Picture: SNS
Stuart McCall is philosophical about needing to use young players. Picture: SNS

Fraser Kerr, Simon Ramsden, Lee Hollis, Craig Moore and Paul Lawson will definitely miss the trip to Tannadice, while Keith Lasley, Stuart Carswell and Henri Anier – who is set for a scan on a shinsplints problem on Monday – are rated as major doubts.

The casualty list means McCall could be forced to turn to youngsters, such as Jack Leitch, Chris Cadden, Dale Shirkie and Dominic Thomas, but the Motherwell manager is confident his makeshift side will be up for the challenge.

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He said: “The bench will be full of kids but I’m not whinging about it. It’s just part and parcel of the game. It’s just unfortunate the injuries have all come at once after having quite a good break from injuries.

“With the addition of Bob McHugh and Adam Cummins going out on loan until the end of the season, it leaves us very short. Whatever team we put out will be competitive anyway. If we have to throw our young kids in, then let’s be excited about it. Regardless of who we put out, I’m sure we will give it a good go.”

Despite being down to the bare bones, McCall is determined to avoid a repeat of their last meeting with United, which saw the Steelmen suffer an emphatic 4-0 defeat at Fir Park.

He said: “They played very well that day and we had three of our recognised back four out and we had to make a change at half-time. Full credit to them, on the day they were excellent and there were maybe reasons for us not being at our best. But we are going to have a go.”

Last week saw Motherwell post losses of £184,500 for season 2012-13 but McCall will not lose sleep over any potential pressure to sell on his star players in the summer.

He said: “I think we’re struggling now to be able to sell anybody for big money if I’m being honest. We brought Henrik (Ojamaa) in for nothing and ended up getting £350,000 for him so, something like that, the club would consider.

“I’ve got no worries about that, I think we all realise that’s part and parcel. You bring players in and, if you can improve them and sell them on, then that’s what you’ve got to do.”

United manager Jackie McNamara believes his side have every right to feel confident going into the Motherwell clash.

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The Tayside club have recorded back-to-back wins in recent weeks over St Mirren and Kilmarnock to end a seven-game winless streak which began over the festive period. McNamara’s side are sitting fourth in the table and beginning to recapture the kind of form which earned them no shortage of praise prior to Christmas.

“The lads are looking forward to the match,” said McNamara. “Motherwell are a good side and it’s one which we should be going into with a bit of confidence.

“We’ve had a couple of positive results in our last two games which have been well deserved. We still haven’t been at our best, which is a good thing in a way. We know we can play better but the important thing is that we’re back into the winning habit. Winning matches breeds confidence and we will need to be brave on the night against a quality side like Motherwell.”

United could hand a return to defender Gavin Gunning, who is back in training after a recent knee injury, while teenager Ryan Gauld is fighting to shake off a niggling hip injury.

“We need to show the same kind of energy and enthusiasm levels we showed last weekend to beat Kilmarnock. We have got belief in the players and hopefully this game will bring out the best in them,” added McNamara.

“It’s live on television and the supporters should relish it. They have a part to play and we hope to give them the sort of result they’re looking for.”