Dundee United have secured the return of fans' favourite David Goodwillie in a massive boost to their preparations for the new season.

The Scotland striker has re-joined United on an initial six-month loan deal - two years after he left for Blackburn in a transfer worth at least £2million.

Manager Jackie McNamara told the club's official website: "I am very excited by this signing. We are not only getting an experienced international player but we are also getting someone who has a special affinity with the United fans."

Goodwillie has struggled in England, scoring just five goals in his two seasons with Rovers, who have had four managers since their relegation from the Premier League last year. The forward netted once in 10 games for Blackburn last season and a one-month loan spell at Crystal Palace proved even less fruitful as he made just one appearance.

But he remains a hero at Tannadice after scoring 40 goals in 136 games. Goodwillie, who scored a penalty against Spain on his third and most recent Scotland appearance in October 2011, hit 19 goals in his final full season with United and is an ideal replacement for Johnny Russell, who signed for Derby last month.

McNamara added: "I am striving to improve Dundee United in both the short and long term and adding a player of David's quality will help achieve that. He has all the attributes needed by a striker and it will be a major boost to the club to have him here.

"This signing will also excite our supporters. We have asked them to be patient and trust us this summer and they have. A lot of hard work was done behind the scenes to ensure this deal went through and I have to praise the board who gave the financial backing to this deal."

Director Derek Robertson urged United fans to buy season tickets after listening to their demands for quality signings.

"In working on this deal for several weeks we have listened to what the fans have said," he said. "After contacting a large number of fans who have still to renew their season ticket it was apparent that many were awaiting some exciting transfer news. It doesn't get much more exciting than this and I hope these fans will now come out and support the club's efforts.

"The chairman (Stephen Thompson) has taken a bold financial decision and we need the fans to back the club accordingly. This signing shows the calibre of player the manager is looking to further add to the squad but in order to do so, we need to encourage more season ticket sales."