Dundee United star Lawrence Shankland may not start against Hamilton as Micky...

Dundee United star Lawrence Shankland may not start against Hamilton as Micky Mellon reveals concern over ‘planes, trains and automobiles’ travel schedule

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Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland may be left out of the team to face Hamilton due to his “planes, trains and automobiles” travel schedule.

Shankland has been to Serbia, Slovakia and Israel in the space of a week with Scotland and is only due to return to his club with a day to spare before they host Accies in the Premiership at Tannadice on Saturday.

Mellon will assess his player when he reports back but he fears the time the striker spent criss-crossing Europe then heading to the Middle East might have taken its toll.

That means Shankland could be left on the bench for what is a crucial league game for fifth-placed United.

The Tangerines boss said: “Lawrence got back (to Scotland) in the early hours of Thursday so we will see what condition he is in.

“I think he will be tired because all those players will be tired.

“The travelling and time it takes to get to all those places can take it out of you.

Micky Mellon. Pic: SNS.

“You also have to factor in that the boys who haven’t played as much as the others (Shankland was a late sub against Slovaks on Sunday but didn’t play against the Serbs or Israelis) might not have had the training they need.

“We will have to ask him when we see him.

“The last time he came back he suffered a wee bit and he was tired.

“It has been planes, trains and automobiles for the last week so we will see where he is at.”

In hunt for goals

Needs must and Mellon will prioritise the well-being of his frontman but it would be a shame if Shankland did not start against Hamilton.

The fixture has the look of one where the Tangerines will be in the hunt for goals, after notching up four 0-0 draws in their last five games.

He would help the cause and it would be good to see both Shankland and Marc McNulty going at the visitors’ defence, with Nicky Clark also adding to the firepower.

Mellon added: “We have managed to get a defensive solidity and now coming out of that we must be better at certain things.

“We showed encouraging signs of that against St Johnstone in the Betfred Cup.

“It is going to take time and we are not going to crack it at one time.

“But people like Shankland, McNulty and even Clark are very, very good at that type of football.

“They are sharp and goal-scorers and there is an opportunity for everybody now.”

United will open up a 13-point gap on Accies if they collect the three points but Mellon isn’t thinking too much about that.

He said: “I think about performances more than anything because, although there is randomness involved in football, if you get the performances right then more often than not the result will take care of itself.

“You can’t affect what other people are doing so there’s no point bothering about it too much.

“The only thing I care about is the team and the club. I have to do what I need to do to give us the best chance of winning.”

Pay-cut talks ongoing

Meanwhile, the pay-cut negotiations continue in the background but Mellon is keen to stress that there is no impact on the football side.

He said: “The wages thing is ongoing – it’s separate.

“We have been very good at putting it to the side as something we are continually dealing with but getting on with the football.

“Right at the start we said we would never use it as an excuse not to be the best we can be or not be professional. We would never allow that.

“We understand it’s a pandemic but every area of the world is suffering with this, without trying to be too dramatic.

“It is something we are going to have to deal with but we are big boys and will do that when the time is right.

“That is probably the update, that it’s still ongoing.

“Also, we have not really had an awful lot of time to have discussions about it.

“But we don’t want it to linger and have anybody think it’s a bigger deal than it is because we are all on the same page.

“We want Dundee United to come out of this well. We all want to get to a place where that happens and there is no damage to any relationships or anything.

“We will get it done as quickly as we can but it has not really been a massive issue.

“We are being quite calm and sensible about it.”



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