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Micky Mellon tells attackers to take a chance if Lawrence Shankland misses out

Motherwell v Dundee United – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon has urged his attacking players to embrace the chance to seize the headlines if Lawrence Shankland misses out again on Saturday.

Shankland has sat out the last two games with an ankle injury which makes him a doubt for the trip to face Ross County.

The Scotland international netted 28 goals in 33 games for United last season to fire them back into the Scottish Premiership but has only featured once this term.

Fellow striker Nicky Clark netted a penalty in United’s opening game and defender Mark Reynolds scored the winner at Motherwell before United lost 1-0 against Hibernian.

But others have offered promise up front, with 21-year-old Louis Appere showing his talent and winger Luke Bolton making an impact at times.

And Mellon has backed his front players to grab the limelight.

“That’s what they are here for,” he said. “Let’s acknowledge that they are all under contract for the football club and they are all here to do a job.

“I’m not putting pressure on anybody, that’s just what their jobs are.

“Every person in the team has a certain job to do for us, so step up and be counted. You’ve got the opportunity when it comes, if Lawrence isn’t fit, then go and you be the man.

“Go and enjoy the chance for you to be the man that creates the headlines.

“Be optimistic about it, go and enjoy the opportunity to go and do that. That’s the way I look at life and football.

“Let’s get it on, let’s see who can be that man.”

As well as Appere and Manchester City and England Under-20 loan winger Bolton, Mellon has given the likes of 17-year-old Lewis Neilson and fellow youth-team graduate Logan Chalmers their first-team chance this season.

“I’m delighted that the young boys have come in,” Mellon said. “Let’s celebrate the fact that people are getting the opportunity in the Scottish Premiership, young players, to play first-team football. Let’s really celebrate that.

“It’s fabulous that we have got young players that are good enough to do that.

“And, by the way, there’s more here, there’s more young players that I am going to unleash. And I’m really excited about that because as everyone knows the recruitment at Dundee United has always been very good from within.

“I will continue to do that because I believe that we heavily invest in the academy here, we have some very good young players, and it excites me to think that we are going to be able to get them out on that pitch and play.”