Under-fire James McPake says he is “absolutely” the right man to take Dundee back to the Premiership.
The Dens manager admits this season has been a poor one to date with his side sitting in fourth place in the Championship with eight matches remaining.
However, he is confident in his ability to turn the team’s fortunes around after just two wins in their last eight games.
Despite their poor recent run, the Dark Blues can go level with second placed Dunfermline if they beat bottom side Alloa on Friday, for one night at least.
And McPake points to the quality within his squad as the main reason he believes the dream of promotion can still be realised this season.
Asked if he was the right man to take the club up, he replied: “Absolutely. That’s not a false hope, an arrogance or a daft confidence in my own ability.
“It is what I see in the squad and the players that are here.
“So yes, I believe that we have the players and the staff that can take this club back to the Premiership.
“That’s our aim with eight games to go. We still have a chance of doing that so we are giving it our all.
“Hopefully come May, that’s where we’ll end up.”
McPake has been leaning on the experience of former Scotland and Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, the club’s technical director.
And he’s sure he still has the backing of American owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms.
Asked if he has their full support he said: “Yes.
“The aim at the start of the season was to get to the Premiership and we still have a chance to do that.
“We are under no illusions that we haven’t had a great season, far from it.
“The club is in fourth place so we should be much better off. We can go joint second with seven games to go but that is still not good enough for me.
“It is what it is but what I will say also is that we have a great support network here.
“Gordon is here as well and of course I am going to use him. He has been in these situations before where he has been under pressure and needing results.
“My job is to pick a team to win games of football and if the team isn’t winning, the buck stops with me. I am big enough and ugly enough to accept that.
“I will do that and I will continue to do that.
“But I will reiterate that my belief is in the squad of players and the work we are doing.
“We just need to find that consistency to string those wins together and cement our play-off place to give ourselves the best chance to get up.”
‘We need to be much better’
After picking up a good win over Arbroath at the weekend, Dundee failed to follow up with a similar performance at home to Ayr United on Tuesday night.
An early gift of a goal to Mark McKenzie from Paul McGowan undid a decent start to the game for the Dark Blues.
From that moment on, McPake’s side never looked like getting themselves back into the game.
Just three days later they take on Peter Grant’s Alloa and the Dens boss is expecting a much-improved performance from his team.
McPake said: “Normally when you have a performance like that, you don’t sleep until your next game and that’s the case.
“We have a game tomorrow night and the focus quickly changed to how do we make this right at Alloa – the start of what is a massive eight-game period.
“The belief in the squad is there. I don’t think it is a lack of effort. The lads are trying and working hard.
“The mistake was uncharacteristic and then the heads dropped for whatever reason.
“It is up to us to pick a team that can go to Alloa and handle that if something goes wrong.
“We went down there earlier in the season and were lucky to come away with a point.
“We need to be much better all over the pitch which is what we have been working on since Wednesday morning.
“It is all in our hands and people might be worried about that because of the inconsistency but you look at the squad and the talent that is here.
I still believe in what we are doing and we can get this right.
“The aim at the start of the season was to somehow give ourselves the best chance to get into the Premiership by winning the league.
“Outwith that is the play-offs so we need to make sure we are in them and giving ourselves the best chance.
“That’s what we are focused on over the next eight games.”