James McPake plans to scupper Dick Campbell’s hopes of a second consecutive Manager of the Month award – by leading his Dundee side to victory over Arbroath on Saturday.
Campbell was named February’s top Championship boss on Thursday after leading his side through an unbeaten month.
McPake was full of congratulations for Campbell – but insists the Gayfield gaffer will need to win at Dens Park this weekend to make it two on the bounce.
“The Manager of the Month award is thoroughly deserved and congratulations to Dick for that,” said McPake.
“If he is going to get next month’s and make it two on the trot, he will have to come to Dens and win so, hopefully, I can knock that on the head on Saturday.”
Tight contest expected
Though their unbeaten run of eight games was ended by Queen of the South last weekend, McPake knows his side are coming up against an Arbroath team full of confidence.
“The games with Arbroath have been tight this season,” added McPake.
“I said before we played them last time that they are a team you can’t take lightly. They have recently beaten Dunfermline and Raith and went to Ayr and won.
“I have huge respect for Dick and Ian Campbell along with big Rab (Douglas).
“It’s more than just organisation and team spirit that they bring, Arbroath also play some good football.
“Those three guys know the game inside out and they have been great with me and Dave as young coaches.
“They always have time for a wee chat, or just keep the chin up when things aren’t going right.
“You might have won a couple of games and you’ll have Dick saying: ‘Well done, son’. Or he maybe uses a different term!
‘A dangerous opponent’
“People say I always talk up the opposition managers but I don’t. I talk up the ones I have real respect for and the ones that are good with me. Dick falls into that category.
“I’m not surprised Arbroath have fought their way out of trouble and are now trying to battle their way into a play-off position.
“They did that last year and they are a dangerous opponent.
“We are the home team and we know we need to take it to them and be on the front foot from the start.
“If we can replicate the win over Inverness and I even think a lot of the game at Tynecastle, we’ll get a positive result.”
Charlie Adam returns
McPake will welcome talisman Charlie Adam back to his squad after the former Rangers and Liverpool man’s recovery from Covid-19.
He missed the 2-1 defeat to Hearts last weekend, a result the Dundee boss insists his players are determined to make amends for.
He said: “It’s good to have Charlie back, he has trained and trained very well. We’ve been through the process with him and he’s healthy, which is the most important thing.
“Training has been excellent this week, the boys have all been sharp and been at it.
“I can see our players have the bit between their teeth now and can’t wait for Saturday.”
Dundee face three games in seven days, with Saturday’s game followed by matches against Ayr and Alloa on Tuesday and Friday respectively.
With no new injury worries, McPake has the option of rotating his players if he chooses.
“We will need to use the depth of the squad and that’s why we’re glad we’ve got such a strong squad,” he said.
“We can chop and change, leave people out for different games.
“Next week is Saturday-Tuesday-Friday. People will say the players should be accustomed to that and, yeah they are, but if you have a big enough squad where you can bring players in without damaging what you are trying to do it limits the risk of injuries.
“We have the option, let’s put it that way.
“That’s not to say I’m going to chop and change but we have the option.”
Meanwhile, young midfielder Callum Moore headed out on loan to Forfar Athletic earlier this week.
The lower leagues have been given the go ahead to restart after stopping in January due to rising coronavirus cases.
McPake expects to see more of his squad move out on temporary deals but revealed there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Leagues One and Two.
“Callum will go and get games and we’ll keep an eye on him,” he said.
“We’ll try and get some players out although I think clubs at the minute are a bit apprehensive about taking players when it’s not really clear what’s going to happen.
“We’ve had a few enquiries about players but we’ll see what suits us best. We’ve seen the benefit it gave Lyall Cameron.”
One likely to head out is Josh Mulligan with Peterhead keen to take him back after injury cut his loan spell short at Balmoor earlier this season.
Meanwhile, the Dark Blues Championship clash with Dunfermline on Saturday, March 27 has been selected for TV broadcast.
It will be shown live on the BBC Scotland channel, with kick-off switching to 7.20pm.