JIM GOODWIN challenged his squad players to stake their claim for a place in his starting lineup as injury threatens to keep his stars on the sidelines ahead of Saturday's cup clash with Dundee United.

Callum Crane is almost certain to miss out after going off during last weekend's defeat to East Fife, while PJ Crossan missed that game altogether, and Ross Stewart is cup-tied having featured for parent club St Mirren earlier in the competition.

That's forced the Wasps manager to make changes, but he believes those coming in can make the difference.

Goodwin told Advertiser Sport: "Callum didn't look great when he came off on Saturday so we'll wait on an update from the Hibs physios. He'll get sent for a scan and hopefully we'll know later in the week what the extent of the damage is.

"It wasn't too swollen after the game so hopefully it won't be any longer than a couple of weeks. But it does mean we'll have to shuffle the pack for the United game.

"PJ went off against Albion Rovers with a slight hamstring strain. We're hoping that's something he can overcome in time for the weekend because we'd love to have him fit but we're not going to rush him.

"Ross is cup-tied too. They are three big players ,but it's an opportunity for other boys within the group to come in and make their mark in a great game.

"We will obviously be massive underdogs but we'll make it as difficult as we can for United and if we get the first goal, you never know."

Alloa have already come up against United in the Irn-Bru Cup this season, and despite a late defeat Goodwin was pleased with his players' performance that day.

Now, with home advantage on their side, he reckons the Wasps can sting their illustrious opponents.

He said: "I thought we gave a great account of ourselves when we played United earlier in the season and if we'd been a bit more clinical on the day we would have stood a great chance of progressing in the Challenge Cup. They did leave it late.

"They've got a lot of quality players in their team so we will have to be at our best defensively. We can't give them any cheap opportunities.

"But we have players at the other end who can cause them problems too, and that should make for an entertaining game.

"I've been involved in a number of cup upsets down the years and it's important that the players believe they are capable of causing one on Saturday."

The manager believes it's crucial to keep strengthening his squad and is hopeful of adding at least one new face this week.

Goodwin added: "We are working hard and I'd love to get someone in before the game on Saturday, especially now that we have a couple of injuries.

"These things never happen as quickly as you'd like and there's other clubs out there who are also looking to strengthen.

"I just think, when I look at the business Arbroath and the other teams around us have done, that we need to strengthen. We are trying our best to do that."