Keith Watson (ankle) and John Souttar (hamstring) are also trying to shake off knocks, while Mario Bilate (hamstring) is expected to remain on the sidelines.
And midfielder Paul Paton definitely misses out because he is serving the final match of a three-game suspension.
Dundee will probably be without Simon Ferry for the Tannadice Park clash because he has an ankle problem.
His fellow midfielder Kevin McBride is also doubtful with a thigh injury but playmaker Paul McGowan may be available again after a knee problem.
And Peter MacDonald will miss out with a knee injury.
Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara said: “Dundee had a bad result at home in their last game (a 3-1 loss to St Mirren) and they’ll be looking at this derby as being a great game to come back into.
“They will be fired up for it come kick-off, so we have to be ready for that obviously.
“It’s been over 10 years since they last won a derby and they will be trying to get the fans back on side after the weekend, so we know what to expect from them.”
And Dundee boss Paul Hartley said: “We’re all really looking forward to it. I don’t think you should need motivation for a game like this, it’s as simple as that as far as we’re concerned.
“It’s a derby game with a full house and it’s a game where you want to go and do well for yourself and the club.
“We’ve had a bad month of December but we are looking to do much better in the weeks ahead, starting with Dundee United.”