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United expect tough Dundee derby
Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara expects a backlash from Dundee in their League Cup third-round tie at Tannadice.
United are favourites going into Wednesday night’s clash after their morale-boosting 4-1 Premiership win over the Dark Blues which sent them to the top of the table on Sunday.
McNamara’s men now host their city rivals as the pair prepare to contest for a place in the quarter-final and the United manager is anticipating Paul Hartley’s men coming out with all guns blazing.
He said: “There’s always two ways of looking at it in terms of whether Sunday’s result gives us a boost.
“They will be hurting from it and they will want to put that right on Wednesday. So we know what to expect.
“It doesn’t change anything for me as far as we’re concerned.
“We have to go about it the same way, with the same approach and manner which we showed on Sunday. There are no easy cup games and this one is against our rivals which will be tough.”
McNamara knows United fans will be seeking another victory over Hartley’s Dundee after becoming the first side to inflict defeat on them this season.
He said: “It would be great for the fans to win back-to-back derbies.
“It means a lot to them but it’s also a chance to get into the next round of the cup.
“The atmosphere on Sunday was fantastic and it could be another sell-out this time.”
United striker Nadir Ciftci is available again after suspension so could start.
Stuart Armstrong is in the reckoning for a starting berth after coming off the bench in the 4-1 win after weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
But on-loan Hull City full-back Conor Townsend is still out with a foot injury.
Dundee manager Hartley has challenged his side to show their derby-day league defeat was a one-off as they prepare to face their neighbours again.
Hartley said: “We were disappointed in the way we lost the game and the manner of the goals we conceded. That was the most frustrating thing.
“We know we are better than that and we can also play better. It’s up to us to show that now.
“Defensively we have been sound and Sunday was just one of those days. But we have to regroup and get ready to go again in the League Cup. This is a good chance to do so on Wednesday night.
“It is another derby game. We will take a good support down who have been great this season.
“If you wait for a while and let things fester then it can be more difficult. But we will be as positive as we can, then we will pick a team who we feel can win the game.”
Dundee are eyeing a cup run but Hartley is realistic enough to know they must raise their standards considerably.
He said: “We know we can play better. We have to play better on Wednesday night if we want to progress, there’s no question of that.
“We have been good in every other game apart from Sunday so we’re not being that hard on the players.
“I can detect that they want to do well on Wednesday. They’ve trained well since and are looking forward to the match.
“Dundee United are a good team with a lot of quality. However, we will focus on ourselves and see where it takes us.”
Dundee remain without the injured Kevin Thomson (calf), Peter MacDonald (knee) and Willie Dyer (knee), while defender Iain Davidson is a doubt with a bruised foot. Thomas Konrad is available despite his late red card in the weekend defeat.