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Dundee strikers Danny Mullen and Jonathan Afolabi in manager’s mind for starting XI this weekend

Dundee's Danny Mullen (L) holds off Hearts' Michael Smith.
Dundee's Danny Mullen (L) holds off Hearts' Michael Smith.

Dundee’s opening day at Tynecastle was one with few positives for manager James McPake.

However, the impact from the bench of both Jonathan Afolabi and Danny Mullen during the 6-2 defeat has put them in line for the starting XI this weekend against Morton.

Celtic loanee Afolabi emerged at half-time with the score already 4-1 after being away with the Republic of Ireland U/21 squad for their European qualifier in Italy.

Having missed much of pre-season with an ankle knock, Mullen then replaced Osman Sow shortly afterwards and netted his second goal in two games for the Dark Blues.

Though they couldn’t prevent the Dark Blues falling to a dreadful opening day defeat, they are in the manager’s mind to face Ton.

The Dens boss also confirmed fellow-striker Alex Jakubiak is nearing a return as he recovers from an injury picked up against Peterhead in pre-season last month.

On Afolabi and Mullen, McPake said: “They added something.

“Jonathan had been away for the full week and hadn’t played many minutes so we were wary of starting him. He looked great when he came on.

“Danny is still getting up to speed. We know what Danny can bring and that’s why we’ve been desperate to bring him here for a while.

“We are looking forward to getting them up to speed with Alex Jakubiak as well. He’s been running and is at end-stage stuff so we’ll have him back very soon.

“Danny was unfortunate with the ankle knock he picked up in pre-season because he was doing well.

“That did set him back but he’s working really hard just now to get himself to the level he wants.

“He was another we had to be careful with for Friday because he’d only played 60 minutes of football.

“We’ll get another week’s training into him and look at him for Saturday.”

Jonathan Afolabi made his Dundee debut at half-time against Hearts on Friday.

After the disappointment of being hit for six on the opening day of the league campaign to the side expected to be the biggest rivals for promotion, Dundee’s players were back in training the morning after.

The session in St Andrews was already planned but McPake conceded the players would have been back in had it not already been organised, such was the performance on Friday.

Preparations to try to right the wrongs of Friday night against David Hopkin’s men haven’t been altered on the back of the Tynecastle defeat, however.

“We’ve not changed any of our plans, though there were a lot more negatives in the video analysis than we want,” McPake added.

“That’s football, sometimes it’s good to have a game quickly but we have a week to wait.

“The players were bright and breezy at the start of the week and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”

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