AYR United boss Lee Bullen says that reserve matches are "really important" for his side after their match this weekend fell victim to the weather.

Bullen said the Honest Men were "desperate" for their match against Arbroath on Saturday to go ahead - only for freezing temperatures to force the postponement of the match almost 24 hours in advance. 

However, the squad at Somerset Park have been kept ticking over with first team players being involved in some reserve action.

A number of first team regulars featured for the reserve side in an Ayrshire derby cup match against Kilmarnock last week, while a handful of senior players are due to play alongside the club's youngsters in a friendly match which has been arranged for Tuesday, December 5.

Jay Senga and Logan Chalmers are set to feature in the match tomorrow against Caledonian Braves, while the pair also featured alongside Fraser Bryden, Mark McKenzie and Ahkeem Rose in the reserve Ayrshire reserve derby.

The matches have been particularly important for Logan Chalmers who was not allowed to play in Ayr's cup match against Peterhead and will not be able to feature against his parent club Dundee United this weekend.

Bullen commented: “I take a lot from them [reserve games]. These are really important from my point of view as a coach.

“You are looking at potential decisions on squads. Now everybody’s fit, there’s potentially going to be two three players, regarded as senior players, missing out.

“The reserve games are so important - not necessarily just on the performance but the attitude and the way you go about your business and your professionalism.”

Bullen was unable to pull many positives from a weekend without action after the postponement of Saturday's match - even though it allowed some extra recovery time for some players who have been nursing injuries.

Some of Ayr's injury absentees - including Ben Dempsey, Frankie Musonda and Nick McAllister - have been coming back to fitness, and Bullen said he would much prefer to help those who have been missing get back to match sharpness.

“I would have much rather had the game [for the injured players], that’s the unfortunate thing, but it is what it is.

“It’s good that we’ve got another week's training under the belt for them but I think they get more out of games.

“We were desperate to have the game on. We had a win the week before, it was tough to get over the line but we got there.

“You want to try and build momentum, so we were all looking forward to the home game against Arbroath.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Now all our focus is on what, on paper, is probably the toughest away game you can get in the Championship this season, up to Tannadice.”

But he remains confident that his players can rise to the challenge of taking on the league leaders on their own turf.

"I’m not going to beat around the bush," he said. "I think most folk in Scotland will have it down as a Dundee United win at the weekend.

“But they’ve gone through a couple of little blips in the cups. It’s a great environment, the game will be on, there will be a good crowd there, we will be playing against the team that’s top of the league – what’s not to enjoy about going up there?

“There’s probably more pressure and expectation on Dundee United, but we’ve got our own little pressures to deal with.

“We’ve got to go up there and give a good account of ourselves and we know we’ve got players who are capable of causing them problems.”

United will be facing a slightly out-of-sorts Arabs side, who have lost their previous two matches in cup competitions to lower league opposition in the shape of Falkirk and Queen of the South.

But Bullen says he does not expect that to affect Jim Goodwin's side when they face off at Tannadice.

“For me the cups are irrelevant when it comes to the league side of things," he said.

"Dundee United had only lost six goals in the league all season - then suddenly they lose six goals in the cup against lower league opposition.

“Things happen in football. These little shocks can come along. They’re everybody’s favourite for the league; I think if you finish above them you’ll win the league.

“It’s a tough game but it’s the type of game you want to be involved in.”