‘Gunning will strengthen Dundee United’

Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen says the signing of defender Gavin Gunning will strengthen the side.

Gunning has rejoined United until the end of the season after stints in England with Birmingham City and Oldham, and will go straight into the squad to face St Johnstone on Saturday.

The Arabs sit at the foot of the table with two wins from 14 games but Paatelainen is confident Gunning can help improve the side.

“Gavin is a very powerful player,” he told the club’s official website.

“He is a solid defender who shows great aggression. He is good in the air and also on the ball.

“He will strengthen us footballing wise but he is also a great addition to our changing room.

“He is not a quiet boy, that’s for sure and when he is around there is always plenty of laughter.”

Gunning has been plagued by injury problems on his knee since leaving United but Paatelainen is confident the defender has overcome the issue.

“He is well over his injury concerns now,” the Finn said.

“He has been training with us for over a week and has shown up very well. He is fully fit and raring to go, maybe lacking little match fitness but once he gets that he will be an important part of our squad.”

Gunning expressed his joy at being back at Tannadice.

“Im happy to be back at United,” he said. “I enjoyed my time here previously. I am fit and determined to show I am still a good footballer.

“I like the fact the Head Coach is a straight talker and doesn’t take any nonsense. He is what the Club needs at the moment and I can play my part also.

“I feel as if I am ready to play straight away but it will be up to the Gaffer whether I am selected or not.”

Paatelainen has stated that he intends to strengthen the squad further with former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle in training and Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima close to signing.

He said: “Of course. We will continue to try and strengthen the squad. I am thankful that the Board have backed me and this is about strengthening competition amongst the squad, that is what we must do.”

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