Dundee boss James McPake has revealed the signings of Jason Cummings and Paul McMullan were part of his summer transfer plans and is delighted to welcome them to Dens Park six months early.
The Dens gaffer has expressed his delight at the transfer business done in January in adding two of his “top targets” for next term to his squad half-a-season earlier than planned.
That’s after Dundee United last week agreed to allow McMullan to move across the road on loan until his contract expires and an initial pre-contract move for former Hibs and Rangers man Cummings turned into an immediate transfer from Shrewsbury Town.
Both made their debuts in Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at Raith Rovers along with fellow new boy Malachi Fagan-Walcott, who joined on loan from Tottenham last week.
And McPake expects better times ahead as they get bedded into their new surroundings with the Dark Blues expected to welcome Lee Ashcroft, Liam Fontaine and Adam Legzdins back to the squad after the trio all missed the trip to Kirkcaldy.
“I am looking forward to this week being able to have a full week working with a full squad,” McPake said.
“We have our new recruits like Jason Cummings and Malachi Fagan-Walcott as well as Paul McMullan to bed in.
“I’ve been delighted with the signings we’ve made and the business done this month. In McMullan and Cummings we have actually got in two of our top targets for the summer done early in this window.
“Obviously it had come out about our move for Paul on a pre-contract but we’d also had an initial chat about getting Cummings on a similar deal.
“We had to wait and see on that one. However, we had the opportunity to get them both in earlier and I am really pleased with the business we’ve done.
“We also had to strengthen the central defence area with Malachi.
It’s been a good window, we are definitely stronger. It’s now about getting them bedded into the group and they’ll make us a better team.
“Jason trained well yesterday, he’s looking sharp and he’ll be a big player for us for the remainder of the season.
“He’s a proven goalscorer and one that likes to score in big games. He’s what we needed.
“Osman Sow got another goal at the weekend but we felt we needed more goals from elsewhere.”
On the fitness front, McPake hopes to have plenty more options to choose from this weekend at home to Inverness.
Fontaine failed a late fitness test while Ashcroft had an ear infection and goalkeeper Legzdins had a family matter.
Already missing through injury were Alex Jakubiak, Jordan McGhee, Jordon Forster and Josh Mulligan before the late call-offs in central defence saw debuts for 18-year-old Fagan-Walcott and 19-year-old Sam Fisher.
McPake was pleased with how the youngsters handled being thrown into a tough contest at Raith but admits it was a disappointing day as the Dark Blues fell further behind runaway leaders Hearts.
He said: “Looking back now it was a disappointing day. I have to give credit to the two young lads who stepped in at centre-back, though, it wasn’t easy what they had to do.
“Malachi and Jason Cummings had only arrived and met the boys on the Friday.
“Then Liam Fontaine fails a fitness test and Lee Ashcroft turned up with an ear infection. Fair play to him because he wanted to play but his balance was all over the place.
“Centre-back is a position where you need experience but neither Malachi or Sam Fisher let down their team-mates in any way. I was pleased with how they did.
“We do expect to have Fontaine and Ashcroft back this coming weekend.”
Also absent was experienced goalkeeper Legzdins with McPake explaining: “Adam’s wife was due to give birth at the weekend.
“Usually we’d turn up with the three goalkeepers in case he had to shoot off but with Covid rules numbers are restricted.
“So we took the decision to leave him out but he’s available for this weekend.”
McPake added: “Jordon Forster is back doing a bit of training. Jordan McGhee had surgery on Monday and we are waiting to hear back on how long he’ll be out.”