Kane Hemmings and Lawrence Shankland will both want to shine in the Dundee derby spotlight.
But Dark Blues winger Declan McDaid hopes that his old Ayr United team-mate rather than his current Dens Park one is the striker who will be in the shadows at full-time tonight.
McDaid, who was voted Ladbrokes Championship player of the month for October, believes Hemmings and Shankland are cut from the same cloth. And the similarities include their big match temperament.
“Lawrence has certainly got a few of these awards,” he said.
“We’ve not spoken this week. I’ll leave it until after the game and hopefully I’m winding him up after we’ve beaten them.
“I thought in the summer he would move down to England but he went to United and he’s kept up what he did at Ayr. Obviously, I was hoping he wouldn’t!
“He’s kicked on and now he’s in the Scotland squad. I’m delighted for him.
“I played against him when I was at Thistle’s 20s and he was at Aberdeen 20s. Then I was his team-mate at Ayr for two years, of course.
“The defenders here might ask me things now and again about him but we all know what he can do. There are no shocks.
“Kano has started banging them in again and hopefully he’ll keep that going on Friday.
“They’re similar players. They’re both strong and hold the ball up well. And they can both finish.
“They definitely both like the big occasion and will want to be the match-winner in the derby. Hopefully it’s Kano who comes out on top.”
McDaid didn’t need to see awards for himself and manager James McPake arriving at Dens to know that the home side are going into tonight’s clash with optimism.
“We’re feeling confident,” he said.
“We were playing well without getting the results and now we’re doing both. I definitely think we have a good chance in the game.
“You up your game when it’s on the TV but you don’t need the cameras to do that for a derby.
“The bigger games help me play better. It’s not something I think about before the match but when I’m in it I get an extra edge – like going back to my old club, Ayr, a couple of weeks ago.
“The boys at Ayr used to wind me up last year and said I only turned up for the games on TV!
“I don’t mean it but it does seem to make me play better.”
McDaid enjoyed most of his success for Ayr against the Tangerines last season down his side’s left but it is likelier that he will start on the opposite flank tonight.
He said: “The manager (Ian McCall) kept playing me on the left-wing after I did well in the 5-0 at Tannadice.
“If I’m on the left this time I would be up against Liam (Smith), who I know well from Ayr. On the other side I’ve played against (Jamie) Robson as well. They’re both good players but I’ll be looking to get at them, whichever side I’m on.”
As important as tonight’s match is, McDaid doesn’t believe the result will be definitive.
“There was always talk about the gap to United but we’ve not worried about that because it’s a long season,” he said. “Anybody can beat anybody.
“And since the first derby we’ve cut the gap. Obviously we want to get within three points but it’s still early days.
“At Ayr we were top in January and then finished fourth.”
Graham Dorrans is helping to bring out the best in McDaid.
“He’s been massive for me,” he said.
“The gaffer has told me to make more runs because he will find me.
“That’s definitely been the case. If I make a run he’s got the vision to pick me out. He’s got me on the ball a lot in good areas. It’s been brilliant.”
McPake has been delighted with his summer signing from Somerset Park.
He pointed out: “If you ask anybody in our team about Dec they will all say that defensively he’s superb, which isn’t something you associate with wingers.
“His end product is getting better and he’s scored some important goals.
“You can play him either side and he’s tuned in to what we need him to do. Attacking-wise he is a proper old school winger.
“It will be a good battle against Jamie Robson. Dec has got a good record against him – he’s done well for Ayr against United.
“Hopefully he can come out on top this time.”