Dundee manager Barry Smith could be forced to name himself on the substitute bench as his team is hit by a personnel crisis.
The Dens Park boss is set to be missing illness-hit Iain Davidson and Jamie Reid, while Nicky Rily, Steven Milne and Stephen O’Donnell are also unavailable for tonight’s trip to Peterhead in the League Cup.
Smith does not have the option to field trialists in the tie and said he wants to protect the club’s young players in a match that will be keenly fought in Aberdeenshire.
In an interview with the Dundee Courier, Smith said the injuries and illness highlighted how threadbare his squad is ahead of the SPL kick off on Saturday.
He said: ''It has been difficult because we didn't want to sign players before we got invited into the Premier League and it's now cost us because we've got such a small squad.
''We can't even play trialists against Peterhead - we would have done - and we're down to the bare bones. So I'm guessing I'll have to put myself on the bench.
''I'll only do it if I need to. I'd prefer not to, but you can see the numbers we've got.'
''We always try to protect the kids. If we think they are good enough then they'll go and play, but it's a big ask because they've not been involved in pre-season.
''To ask them to step into a competitive game is a massive ask and we have to make sure they are ready for it.''
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