Dundee boss James McPake says the response from players and fans to the difficulties the club has faced in the coronavirus shutdown have brought a “feelgood factor” to Dens Park.
After the global pandemic brought an early end to last season, the Dark Blues finances have been hit hard.
To safeguard the long-term future of the club, managing director John Nelms has put cash-cutting measures in place with the first-team squad and players taking a wage cut and the academy system being scaled back.
However, manager McPake gave an upbeat assessment of what the future holds on the playing side of things as he hailed new signing Danny Mullen.
Dundee fans have rallied to raise money to help the club during the cash crisis brought by the shutdown and the Dens gaffer was quick to praise those efforts.
On plans to return for pre-season ahead of the October restart, McPake told DeeTV: “It’s going OK. Like everything that’s happening, it’s changing daily and it’s hard to put down anything.
“What I will say is the response from the players and the fans, there is a feelgood factor, which feels strange to say.
“I feel good being back around the place. I know the players are itching to get back but there are protocols and measures [to be gone through].
“What we have is time on our side to prepare for a season. The important thing we said was getting a date for the season to start but we are governed by the other people that make decisions.
“We are doing what is the safest for Dundee Football Club and what we feel will benefit Dundee Football Club the most.
“In terms of my planning, I’m very happy with the way things are going and everyone else is fit and healthy which is also important.”
The Dark Blues yesterday announced the capture of striker Danny Mullen on a two-year deal after he left St Mirren earlier in the year and McPake says the 25-year-old “is what we have been missing”.
He also revealed he’d sought former Dundee player Jack Ross’s opinion after the now-Hibs boss signed Mullen for the Buddies in 2018.
“First and foremost what he will bring is goals,” he added.
“He scores different types of goals. He does the horrible side of being a striker very well, the side that his team-mates appreciate.
“He is a team player but he has real quality as well. That’s the reason Jack Ross took him early to St. Mirren and speaking to Jack he was a massive factor in them being promoted.
“He brings a lot more than just goals as a striker, he can take the ball in and for his size he holds the ball up and he is a bit of a bully at times. Danny is what we have been missing and that’s why I was so desperate to get him since January.”
The Dark Blues just missed out on the striker at the end of the January transfer window as they sought a replacement for the departed Danny Johnson.
“It was a frustrating one in January it went to the last 5/10 minutes of the deadline,” added McPake.
“He would have been involved in the game at Morton the next day the same way the other signings were.
“He is a player who I have known for a while, he has plenty of admirers in Scottish football and you can see why.
“I think it would have happened earlier if it hasn’t been for the circumstances but I’m delighted to get it over the line.”
Mullen joined former Dunfermline defender Lee Ashcroft as a new signing at the club and McPake is pleased with his new additions.
He added: “We are in the middle of a pandemic and deals are short but you are starting to see teams signing players now. Both of the players had other offers so their commitment to come here ahead of others clubs shows they believe in what we are trying to do and achieve at Dundee Football Club.
“Like Lee, who we tried to get last summer, Danny we had asked about from the start of December. And it went all the way to the last day. These are players we’ve admired for a while.
“The two signings we’ve brought in, delighted so far.”