Ray McKinnon wants fringe players to prove worth

Dundee United manager Ray MacKinnon urges fringe players to step up amid injury crisis. Picture: SNS
Dundee United manager Ray MacKinnon urges fringe players to step up amid injury crisis. Picture: SNS
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Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon has urged his squad to brush off a series of weekend setbacks and prove they have the strength in depth to reach Hampden.

United lost four players to illness and injury after the first half of their Ladbrokes Championship game against Falkirk before going down to two late goals in a 3-1 defeat.

Tony Andreu (ribs), Willo Flood (thigh) and Charlie Telfer, who played on despite ankle ligament damage, are expected to miss tonight’s Betfred Cup quarter-final against Morton while Lewis Toshney went off at half-time through illness.

Now McKinnon wants his fringe players to show their worth at Cappielow. He said: “We are going down there to win the game, make no bones about it.

“We have got injuries, I’m not making any excuses, we do. But we have a good squad and whoever plays knows we are going down there intent on winning the game.

“It’s an opportunity. We have put together a really good squad and there’s people who have been kicking their heels on the bench because the squad is so good; people like Scott Fraser who is an excellent player; Cammy Smith, who has come in and done brilliantly for us; and Blair Spittal.

“If they get an opportunity then there is no weakness in our team. We will bring in good players and they will all have an opportunity to take Dundee United to the semi-finals.”

Morton have their own injury problems. Lee Kilday suffered an ankle injury during their first Championship win of the season against Dunfermline on Saturday to join Derek Gaston, Conor Pepper, Ricki Lamie and Michael 
Tidser on the sidelines, although former United defender Gavin Gunning had a promising debut.

Manager Jim Duffy said: “We will need to piece together a team as our resources are stretched really thin. However, we are in good heart after a fine performance and win at the weekend.

“Dundee United will be looking to bounce back after losing to Falkirk at the weekend but if we play like we did on Saturday then we have a chance.”