Dundee Utd V Inverness CT at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

08 April 2016
Dundee Utd V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Paul Paton relishing his chance to lead Dundee United out of relegation trouble

Paul Paton is relishing the chance to lead Dundee United out of relegation trouble - but he stressed that every player needed to take responsibility in a crucial finale to the season.

United remain five points adrift at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership ahead of a Tannadice clash with Inverness on Saturday plus five more games in the regular season.

Paton has skippered the team in recent games with club captain Sean Dillon often starting on the bench and the midfielder has led by example, United's form improving markedly since his return from a long-term knee injury in January.

The 28-year-old said: "The gaffer has given me that responsibility and I thrive on that. I am happy to be a captain.

"I still very much see Sean Dillon as club captain, he is still the captain in my eyes and I still look up to him.

"But on the pitch I'd like to think I have always played the same way, given my all for the club. That will never stop.

"But if we end up staying up and I have captained the side through that, then there will be a sense of achievement there."

Paton has become accustomed to fighting in the upper reaches of the table with United and Partick Thistle beforehand, who he helped secure promotion. And he is in no doubt that it is tougher at the bottom.

"There is pressure on everyone at the club," the Northern Ireland international said.

"The players have the pressure of other people's jobs on their shoulders. They know that they have let a lot of people down this year. The only positive is we still have time to turn it around.

"Anybody that has stepped on the park this season has got to take responsibility, it's not been good enough. We feel as if we have players who should be winning games. We can't afford to let the club slide down.

"If you don't rise to that responsibility, you shouldn't be at the club. No player should want a relegation on their CV.

"It's embarrassing where we find ourselves, a club like Dundee United with the fanbase, what the chairman has put into the club. We shouldn't be bottom of the league, it's as simple as that.

"But we are and you have got to have the mental toughness to get out of that situation."

Boss Mixu Paatelainen will assess "loads of knocks and question marks" ahead of the game against Inverness.

Paatelainen did not name names but stated there could "possibly be quite a few changes" depending on how players react to treatment.

Coll Donaldson returns to the squad following suspension.

Meanwhile, Inverness defender Danny Devine admits it will take a perfect storm for the Highlanders to gatecrash the top six.

John Hughes' side have one more game to play than the rest of the rivals aiming for a top-half Ladbrokes Premiership finish after Tuesday's clash with Hearts was postponed following a virus breakout in the Jambos squad.

They now finish off their pre-split fixtures with Saturday's trip to basement boys Dundee United before finally facing Hearts in next Tuesday's rearranged match.

But Caley Thistle will have to win both games and hope for favours from elsewhere. There are a number of scenarios which would see them finish among the big guns, the most likely of which is a Dundee loss at Hamilton combined with a draw between Partick Thistle and Ross County.

But even so, Devine admits his side's chances are slim.

Speaking ahead of the Tannadice duel, the Northern Irishman said: "It's a big game on Saturday. The next two games are very big for us if we are to have any chance of making the top six. It will be very difficult and it's out of our hands.

"But we're treating Saturday like any other game with the mindset that we're going out to get a result.

"I'd say we have a slight chance of making it into the top six. We will need everything to go perfectly, for things to fall into place and go our way.

"But we can't think like that. We just have to go out and do our side of the bargain and get the wins."

Midfielder Greg Tansey returns from suspension for the trip.

James Vincent (knee) and David Raven (foot) are back in contention following injury.

Aaron Doran, Dean Brill (both knee) and Alex Fisher (ankle) remain on the sidelines.

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