Jackie McNamara braced for a Dundee backlash

Dundee's Thomas Konrad, left, and Mario Bilate battle for possession at Dens on Sunday. Picture: Kenny Smith
Dundee's Thomas Konrad, left, and Mario Bilate battle for possession at Dens on Sunday. Picture: Kenny Smith
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Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara admits he expects a backlash from Dundee in their League Cup third-round tie at Tannadice tonight.

United are favourites after their morale-boosting 4-1 
Premiership win over the Dark Blues on Sunday, which sent them to the top of the table.

McNamara’s men now host their city rivals as the pair prepare to compete for a place in the quarter-final and the United manager is anticipating Paul Hartley’s side coming out with all guns blazing.

He said: “There’s always two ways of looking at it in terms of whether Sunday’s result gives us a boost.

“They will be hurting from it and they will want to put that right on Wednesday. So we know what to expect.

“It doesn’t change anything for me. We have to go about it the same way, with the same 
approach and manner which we showed on Sunday. There are no easy cup games and this one 
is against our rivals which will be tough.

“It would be great for the fans to win back-to-back derbies. It means a lot to them – but it’s also a chance to get into the next round of the cup.”

United striker Nadir Ciftci is available again after suspension so could start. Stuart Armstrong could start after coming off the bench in the 4-1 win after weeks sidelined with an ankle injury, but on-loan Hull full-back Conor Townsend is still out with a foot injury.

Hartley has challenged his side to show that the league 
defeat was a one-off.

The Dundee manager said: “We were disappointed in the way we lost the game and the manner of the goals we conceded. We know we are better than that and we can also play better. It’s up to us to show that now.

“Defensively we have been sound and Sunday was just one of those days. But we have to regroup and get ready to go again in the League Cup.

“If you wait for a while and let things fester then it can be more difficult. But we will be as positive as we can, then we will pick a team who we feel can win 
the game.”

Dundee are eyeing a cup run but Hartley knows they must raise their standards considerably. He said: “We know we can play better. We have to play better on Wednesday night if we want to progress. We have been good in every other game apart from Sunday so we’re not being that hard on the players.”

Dundee remain without the injured Kevin Thomson (calf), Peter MacDonald (knee) and Willie Dyer (knee), while 
defender Iain Davidson is a doubt with a bruised foot. 
Thomas Konrad is available despite his late red card in the weekend defeat.