Date: 16th January 2007 at 4:38am
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Lee Wilkie and Ross Gardner have returned to Tannadice after successful spells in the lower divisions.

Wilkie was loaned out to 1st division side Ross County for a month, but manager Scott Leitch was hoping to keep the defender until the end of the season at least.

However, after Dundee United’s humiliating 5-0 defeat at Ibrox, Craig Levein promised sweeping changes and Wilkie could be one of the players drafted into the 1st team over the next few weeks.

The former Dundee player wont play in the Scottish Cup match against St Mirren because he wasn’t available for the original cup tie, but the defender isn’t cup tied from the competition – because Ross County agreed not to play Wilkie in their own cup clash with St Johnstone last weekend.

“We had toyed with the idea of putting Lee out for a further month but that’s not going to happen,” Levein told the Courier.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy with our defending and I’m not just talking about the last two games. It’s been the same story in a number of the games we’ve won.”

“There have been a lot of individual mistakes made and after the cup-tie is out of the way Lee will come into contention.”

“Lee has added some sharpness to his game and looked good in training so he’ll be in contention for the weekend.”

Arbroath were also interested in keeping Ross Gardner at Gayfield Park longer than the original month loan period agreed, but the youngster might also be part of Levein’s 1st team re-shuffling plans.

The 20-year-old joined the 3rd division side in December, with manager John McGlashan requesting an extension on the 32 day loan deal until the end of the season.

“Ross signed on a loan deal for 32 days to cover the Dumbarton match on January 13. If he still wants to remain at Arbroath and Dundee United are happy for him to stay, then we would look to extend the loan period for another month or until the end of the season,” said boss McGlashan.

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