Dundee boss James McPake has urged his players to take no notice of Arbroath’s position in the Championship league table ahead of their clash tomorrow.
The Dark Blues have made a slow start to the league campaign but not as slow as the Red Lichties with Dick Campbell’s side having only picked up two points from five games.
However, an away win will bring Arbroath level on points with their Dens Park hosts this weekend and would only serve to ramp up pressure on McPake further.
The meeting between the two clubs last October was the first at Dens since 1980 with a Declan McDaid double seeing Dundee to victory.
The Lichties would go on to worry the clubs in play-off contention and ended the truncated season in fifth spot just five points behind the Dark Blues.
That didn’t surprise McPake and he expects another tough afternoon for his side this weekend.
He said: “When Dick came out last year and said we will not be anywhere near the play-offs near the end of the season, I said it was mind games and I was proved right.
“They were there come March and were still fighting for a play-off place.
“I will go the opposite this season and say they will not be down there come the end of the campaign.
“There is no way that team will still be where they are. They have too good a manager, too good a squad and staff.
“I have a lot of respect for Dick, Ian (Campbell) and big Rab (Douglas). Their players have been together for a while and they will find a way out of it.
“They have had a bad start to the season but they will be fine in the league.”
Neither side comes into the contest in the best for form.
Arbroath have won just once in their last eight matches – a 3-0 win over Elgin City in the Betfred Cup – but have drawn their last two league matches, 1-1 with Queen of the South and 0-0 against Morton last time out.
For McPake’s men, their last league outing was one to forget, a thoroughly disappointing 2-0 defeat at Ayr United.
That came after another disappointing day on the road, this time a 3-3 draw at Alloa with a late fightback salvaging a point.
So both sides will be heading into this contest desperate to breathe some life into the league campaigns.
And McPake has challenged his side to build on what was an improved performance in the cup at Hibs last time out.
He added: “Arbroath will be a real test on Saturday so we are under no illusions that if we drop below the high levels and just think it is Arbroath who are coming and we are not going to Easter Road, the outcome will be what it has been for us this season – a poor result.
“We need to better the levels we were at against Hibs on Saturday because Arbroath are a good side and will be coming here for three points.
“We are expected to win because we are at home but we have to start delivering.
“We’ve been OK at Dens but OK isn’t good enough for Dundee – we need to get a consistency where this place is really horrible no matter who the opposition is.”