Relations with his national association remain strained, but Dundee boss Alan Kernaghan has still promised goalkeeper Kelvin Jack he will do everything he can to help his chances of appearing in next summer’s World Cup Finals for Trinidad and Tobago.
The fall-out from Jack’s late return after the play-off win over Bahrain earlier this month looks set to continue after the Dark Blues only received what they felt was a half-hearted apology from the Trinidad FA.
The Caribbean islanders have expressed regret Jack did not make it back for the league visit to Ross County on November 19, but there has been no acceptance they were wrong to insist he travelled from the Middle East for qualification celebrations in Port of Spain.
Dundee are pursuing the matter through the SFA and FIFA, though Alan accepts the main priority now is making sure that future international stints end with Jack back in the City of Discovery in plenty of time for his next club game.
All at Dens, though, remain keen to see the big goalie represent his country in their first-ever finals appearance next June.
“We don’t want to do anything that would jeopardise Kelvin’s chances of playing, but we are still pursuing this because we don’t want it happening again,” said Alan.
“I realise that between now and the end of the season there will probably be warm-up games they will want him to play in — and he should if it is possible — but I will have to marry that with the concerns of Dundee Football Club. What it should come down to, I feel, is that competitive games should have priority and everything must be done to make sure he is available for us, because we are, after all, the ones who pay his wages.”
Jack did not train yesterday after feeling the knee he injured while on international duty in October, but the problem will not prevent him being on duty at Stranraer on Saturday. With Derek Soutar as much as a month away from fitness after his knee op., that is good news for the manager.
Already ruled out for the trip to the south-west are Stuart McCluskey and Stephen McNally. The experienced McCluskey is at least building up his fitness after Achilles tendon problems, but there is concern over McNally’s latest bout of back trouble.
A specialist has ordered a bone scan and, although he has been able to join in with the squad in training, Dundee won’t be risking the right-sided defender in a game situation until he is given the all clear.
Gavin Swankie is back at work after missing the win over Brechin because of illness.