Dundee are not expecting any tired legs in the Dunfermline camp this weekend despite the Pars playing into extra-time on Tuesday night.
That’s according to Dens boss James McPake as he prepares his side for the visit of the early season pacesetters in the Championship.
Stevie Crawford’s East End Park outfit have dropped off the top of the table, however, after falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to Morton last weekend.
They followed that up with a Betfred Cup exit in midweek after an extra-time and penalty shootout loss to Premiership St Johnstone.
McPake, however, doesn’t expect anything but a fully fit and flying Dunfermline side arriving at Dens Park on Saturday afternoon.
“Dunfermline going to extra-time on Tuesday won’t matter – they’ll have their players fresh,” he said.
“Their players will recover and will be fit. Players these days are used to going to extra time and they’ll have plenty of youth and energy in their team.
“They’ll come here fresh as a daisy on Saturday and ready to go.”
Goals from set-pieces have been a real strength for the Fife side with centre-back Euan Murray a real threat in the opposing 18-yard-box.
The former Raith man has netted seven times this term including the winner in a 2-1 victory over Hearts last month.
McPake, though, insists his side have improved on the defensive side of set-plays but has been “impressed” by Crawford’s team this term.
McPake said: “We know about Euan Murray, he has scored a few this season.
“Set-pieces are things we work on every week because at some points last season, and this season, that was one of our weaknesses.
“We are better at it now and we’ll be prepared.
“Dunfermline had a great start and I’ve been impressed with how they’ve begun the season.
“After losing such a key player in Kevin Nisbet, they have recruited well.”
In terms of the fitness of his own players, McPake is hopeful there has been no hangover from the 2-2 draw at Inverness for his side.
The Dark Blues were disrupted in the second half by three separate injuries to their front three in the Highlands.
First Danny Mullen limped off after playing on despite taking a hefty knock in the first half before Paul McGowan and Alex Jakubiak both picked up problems and had to be replaced around the time of Inverness’s equaliser.
However, McPake expects at least two of them to be fit for the weekend while goalkeeper Adam Legzdins is expected to miss out once again with his calf injury still a concern.
McPake said: “Obviously we lost three players to injury at Inverness which was frustrating as a manager being forced to make substitutions, that’s the first time it’s happened to me as a manager.
“That was hard but two of them will definitely be OK. One of them is touch and go.
“Adam Legzdins isn’t ready for the weekend but he’s getting closer.”
Victory for the Dark Blues would move them to within two points of Dunfermline in the Championship table and six points behind leaders Hearts.
The Jambos have no league match this weekend due to their Scottish Cup Final on Sunday.