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Dundee Boss Paul Hartley Welcomes Return Of Club Captain


JoeCovenant

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Source: The Courier

Dundee boss Paul Hartley’s squad has been bolstered ahead of Saturday’s trip to Motherwell with the return of skipper Kevin Thomson from injury.

The former Scotland and Rangers midfielder has missed the last two games with Partick Thistle and Celtic after having to come off at half-time against Hamilton on January 31 with a hamstring problem.

Thomson should return against the struggling Steelmen however, Hartley’s squad continues to be plagued by injuries to other players with Kosta Gadzhalov unlikely to feature at Fir Park after having to be replaced at half-time of Saturday’s Jags match by Gary Harkins.

The manager said: “Kosta just tweaked his groin. He did a fitness test before the game and probably shouldn’t have taken part but the big guy wanted to play. However, he has now aggravated his groin and will be a doubt for Saturday. Simon Ferry has a foot problem and Luka Tankulic a knee injury.

“Greg Stewart was suspended for the Partick game but probably wouldn’t have played anyway after picking up a knock against Celtic. Hopefully he will be back in the reckoning for Saturday. Gary Harkins only trained again last Friday after a three-and-a-half-week lay-off.

“He is obviously not match fit but he came on and produced a little bit of magic on Saturday. Thommo will be fit for Saturday. He just nicked his hamstring against Hamilton and had to come off at half-time which was disappointing as he was playing well. So it will be good to have him back.

“We have only been working with 18 fit players the last couple of weeks. If we can get our full squad back fit, which doesn’t always happen, we feel we have a good and strong group of players.â€

Hartley admitted that his side were far from at their best against Partick Thistle. However, he believes the players deserve credit for their last-gasp victory thanks to a stoppage-time Paul McGowan goal and he insists that every team in the Premiership still has lots to play for at the moment.

Hartley added: “The win (against Partick) was the most important thing. The lads know we can play better — it wasn’t a great game of football but they kept going and got their reward. The pitches aren’t great either and you don’t see a lot of good football just now but it’s all about winning — that’s the most important thing in football.

“There is something at stake in every game. We go to Motherwell on Saturday and they are down near the bottom so they are fighting. We then go to Ross County and they are fighting. So everyone has something to play for. It’s like three different leagues in one just now — top, middle and bottom — so we all have something to play for.â€

Dundee are unbeaten in their last seven league games, a run which includes three victories at Dens.

That form is in sharp contrast to the start of the season when there was precious little home comfort for the Dark Blues.

Hartley added: “We had a tough start at home this season. We weren’t getting beaten in many games but we were drawing too many and couldn’t get a result. But now we are good on the road and especially at home where we have picked up wins in tough games with gritty performances.â€

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