Dundee will need to take quality as well as character with them to Gayfield, according to manager James McPake.
The Dark Blues’ trip to Arbroath on Saturday was meant to be an enjoyable day out for the fans.
When the fixture list came out in the summer it was one of those that would have caught the eye of supporters who fancied a visit to the seaside and maybe an easy three points into the bargain.
However, a combination of the part-time Angus club’s superb performances this season and Dundee’s not so brilliant form has turned it into a fixture to fear.
Victory for the Lichties will move them two points ahead of the Dens men with a game in hand.
Fifth-placed Dundee are already recovering from the shock of being overtaken by Dunfermline in midweek.
With the visitors wobbling after three losses on the bounce, the home team are sure to test the Dark Blues’ bottle but, as well as withstanding that pressure, McPake is looking for some good football from his players.
He said: “It is too easy to focus on character when you are going to play Arbroath because you need to have plenty of quality too.
“That is something that is far too easily overlooked.
“You can’t just focus on going to Gayfield and say things like it will be wet and windy and you must cope.
“Just being up for it isn’t enough.
“You have to be on your game and bring quality at the same time.
“It will be a good occasion for the supporters. Their fans will make plenty of noise and I’m sure we will too.
“It is a proper, old football ground and the atmosphere will be fantastic.
“It is up to us to put a performance on.”
Like most of Dick Campbell’s peers, McPake is full of respect for the Arbroath manager.
He also thinks Campbell’s players are pretty decent.
He said: “Dick has a very good squad and they are in this league because they have been doing very well over a period of time.
“They have been winning games in this league as well so they have plenty of quality about them.
“They have picked up good results home and away, like beating Partick at Firhill for example.
“They are a good side and you can’t overlook that.
“Dick has done brilliantly, not just in the last few seasons but over his whole career.
“The job he, his brother Ian and Rab Douglas have done there is really impressive.”
Dundee will have experienced midfielder Paul McGowan back after he missed the 2-1 loss to Queen of the South because his new baby has been ill.
McPake added: “Getting Gowser back is great but, more importantly, the bigger factor is his baby is healthy again.
“He missed the game but the human side of it matters more so everyone is happy for him and his partner that the baby is home.
“Football-wise, getting him back is important because you want your senior players on the pitch helping the others out.”
Jamie Ness will be sidelined by a calf injury and there is a doubt over Jordan Marshall.
On a more positive note, Josh Meekings trained and Andrew Nelson has a chance of being available.