Dundee Utd V Ross County at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

30 October 2015
Dundee Utd V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen: Players are playing for their futures

Mixu Paatelainen has warned his new Dundee United troops they are fighting for their Tannadice futures.

The Finn is only two weeks into his Terrors role but has already been given a stark insight into the problems developing at United.

After taking over a side rooted to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership following Jackie McNamara's sacking, Paatelainen was alarmed to see his toothless team follow up defeat to Hearts in his first match in charge with a shambolic display in a five-goal hiding at Celtic last weekend.

Now the former Kilmarnock and Hibernian boss is drawing up a list of players he wants to sign in January.

And he has told his current crop they had better prove they can meet his high standards, starting this weekend against Ross County.

He said: "We've now been in two weeks as a coaching staff and tried few things. We've changed a few things and we'll probably change them again until we find the tactics and personnel that suits us.

"But I think as a professional you are always playing for your future.

"My attitude is that whenever the players turn up for training or to play for us, they must show they are worth that contract. It never stops.

"There is never a day the players should turn up and not give their maximum."

However, Paatelainen is convinced the players can rally after their Parkhead thrashing.

"I have seen a reaction," he said. "When you lose a match by a big score as we did on Sunday, there's no other option but to realise you were poor.

"They players do know that. They felt it. Every player knows what went wrong and how we must react in future."

Blair Spittal returns from suspension after the midfielder missed last Sunday's dismal five-goal drubbing at Celtic following his red card against Hearts but is now free to face the Staggies.

However, Paatelainen is still without Mario Bilate (knee), Chris Erskine (pelvis), Paul Dixon (hernia), Paul Paton (knee) and Callum Morris (calf).

Ross County have no fresh injury concerns and midfielder Martin Woods believes they are justified in aiming for a top-three place and a cup final.

County progressed to the last four of the League Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 derby win at Inverness and are aiming to consolidate a top-six position in the Ladbrokes Premiership table on Saturday.

The Dingwall side missed the chance to go third last weekend when they lost 2-0 to Hearts, but Woods feels the pain of that defeat can drive them back to the standards they set in beating then league leaders Aberdeen.

"I feel as if the other day was a real giveaway, how disappointed the boys were against Hearts," the 29-year-old said.

"We were absolutely gutted because we know we are so much better than that.

"That's testament to how far the club has come because Hearts are pushing for second and I don't feel as if we have much to fear.

"The boys did really well against Aberdeen as well. We have a lot in this squad to offer and hopefully we can go and maybe take third.

"We have to take every game as it comes and hopefully put a good run together so that we are in and around that come the end of the season. Also going alongside it with a cup final would be an extra bonus.

"It's been a really good place to be around for the last few days so we have got to continue that into this Dundee United game."

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