Dundee Utd V Hamilton at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

27 November 2015
Dundee Utd V Hamilton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Mixu Paatelainen adds veterans to Dundee United mix

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen has continued adding experience to his squad by signing former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle.

The 31-year-old former Atletico Madrid player had been on trial with United and could make his debut in the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Hamilton on Saturday.

Paatelainen has now signed three players following the earlier arrivals of defender Gavin Gunning and holding midfielder Guy Demel, and he is still trying to secure a work permit for Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Paatelainen aims to have Sinama Pongolle in his squad for the visit of Accies if international clearance comes through.

He said: "Florent brings experience, he brings tactical awareness, he brings quality in terms of his passing and positioning. He understands football well."

Former Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg and West Ham player Demel aims to lead by example in a United side who are six points adrift in the table.

The 34-year-old told a media conference broadcast on Periscope: "Experience is good but you have to lead by example. If I want to help the team I have to be an example to my team-mates.

"That means I have to be on my best form and show on the pitch what I can do to help them and then my experience will speak for itself.

"Every player should feel a responsibility. Dundee United is a big club in Scotland and it's our responsibility to make sure the club stays in the Premiership."

Demel wants to rise to Paatelainen's challenge of getting United out of relegation danger.

Demel said: "He spoke about the way he wanted to play and what he is expecting from me, and the challenge. It's a massive challenge but we want to win the battle against relegation so it's something I want to add to my CV.

"I am joining a team with a lot of quality. In the last couple of days I have seen young players with a lot of quality. The gap is not big, there are a lot of games, but we have to come out of this situation quickly. But I'm sure we have the potential to do it."

Chris Erskine is back in training following a pelvic problem but will not feature while Darko Bodul (groin), Paul Paton (knee), Ryan Dow (groin) and Callum Morris (calf) are all ruled out.

Meanwhile, Hamilton goalkeeper Michael McGovern believes Accies will cope better than they did last year if Martin Canning's side is raided again in January.

The New Douglas Park outfit lost three of their most influential figures last winter after player-manager Alex Neil was snapped up by Norwich.

Neil took French forward Tony Andreu with him to Carrow Road, while striker Mickael Antoine-Curier was also allowed to head south for Burton Albion.

But the departures left a gaping hole in the spine of the Hamilton line-up and it took Canning 14 games to finally find a winning solution after taking over the Accies hotseat.

With the likes of Ali Crawford, Grant Gillespie and Greg Docherty all impressing this term, Canning is bracing himself for another raft of offers once the transfer window opens.

But McGovern is not worrying after watching boss Canning bring in the likes of Jamie Sendles-White and Anton Kurakins to refresh their ranks.

"The squad right now is certainly the strongest since I've been here," said the 31-year-old. "Last year in January we lost three really important players but the manager went out and recruited really well, so he's got to take a lot of credit for these top signings.

"The recruitment side of things is so important these days and the boys who've come in have hit the ground running and really added to the group. They have been an improvement on what we've had.

"The squad is strong right now and we'll need that throughout the course of the season with injuries and suspensions playing a part.

"There is obviously the potential that we could also lose players again when the January transfer window comes around. If teams are doing well there will always be interest in individual players and if we lose players then so be it. We're a selling club.

"If it happens then I'm sure the manager will recruit again and bring some more gems.

"We're stronger than when that happened last year, numbers-wise and quality-wise. I hope we don't lose anybody in January but if we do, the squad is capable of dealing with it."

Canning will welcome back playmaker Ali Crawford and defender Jesus Garcia Tena.

Crawford has not featured since injuring his groin against St Johnstone a month ago, while Tena has shaken off the knock he sustained against Hearts two weeks back.

Darren Lyon continues to work back from knee surgery while Michael Devlin (ankle) also remains out.

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