Covid-19 ‘knocked Charlie Adam for six’ but Dundee boss James McPake is delighted to have his star man back to his usual self for the Scottish Cup visit of St Johnstone.
Adam is in contention for only his second start since coronavirus self-isolation and then a suspension ruled him out of a recent run of fixtures for the Dark Blues.
The Dee captain has been a pivotal figure for his boyhood club since sealing a marquee move to Dens Park in the summer.
McPake is pleased to see the 35-year-old looking sharp again and ready to try to help fire Dundee into the last 16 tomorrow.
‘You could see him getting frustrated with that but the last couple of weeks he’s looked excellent’
“I felt sorry for him a wee bit with Covid and then then suspension coming after,” he said.
“Covid knocked him for six a wee bit and it took him a while to get himself back into what he felt was the level he should bring, even in training.
“You could see him getting frustrated with that but the last couple of weeks he’s looked excellent, I must say.
“We’re delighted he’s back.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, McPake provided an update on the rest of his squad allaying fears over Osman Sow, welcoming Jordan McGhee and Alex Jakubiak back to the fold but, unfortunately, revealing No 1 Jack Hamilton is likely out for the season.
He continued: “Osman won’t make the weekend but he should, hopefully, be back, if not for Ayr on Tuesday then next weekend.
“Jakubiak is back in full training so I’ll be in Gerry’s (Docherty) ear to try to get him involved soon.
“McGhee is almost back in full training and Jack has hurt his knuckle so that’s why he wasn’t on the bench last weekend.
“I think that’ll be Jack’s season, unfortunately, but we had good news on Wednesday that he doesn’t need surgery.
“Finlay Robertson had his ankle surgery on Thursday but everybody else is good. Hopefully, it won’t be too long for most of the lads.
“We’ll have Fin back for the summer in pre-season. That’s a wee test for him that I’m sure he’ll come through with flying colours.
“Everybody else is healthy and good to go.”
Sow on the mend after hamstring injury
Shining more light on Sow’s problem, hamstring tightness, McPake is happy the striker came off when he did as he pulled up in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Dunfermline.
The Dee gaffer added: “It’s not a tear. It’s just tight and, to be fair to the big man, he’d been carrying it for a wee while.
“Danny Mullen wasn’t right. He only trained last Friday morning so we’d done all our prep with Osman in the team and then, unfortunately, it got tight in the game.
“He looked after it, we’re glad he done that, and Danny went on and did well.
“We got pretty lucky with that because he probably wasn’t quite ready to play that amount of game time.
“It worked out OK for us in the end.”
Dark Blues going all out to cause an upset
With so many battling with their fitness, McPake would be forgiven for using this afternoon’s cup clash with Saints as an opportunity to get minutes in legs.
However, he insists their focus is on progression and that means picking the strongest team available.
“I see it as a cup-tie that we’ve been building up to all week,” he said.
“The league’s been put to the side. People will say I’m lying but I’m not, the Scottish Cup is a hugely important tournament for every club in Scotland.
“We want to progress and I see it as a chance to play against a very good St Johnstone side that have cemented their place in the top six and already won a cup.
“Taking away everything they’ve done this season, this is their biggest game and because it’s the next one it’s ours, too.
“Our biggest aim was promotion but when the cup comes around it takes up your full week.
“I’m not going to rubbish it and say I see it as a chance to play squad players or fringe boys because our full squad is going to be needed between now and the end of the season.
“I think it’s paramount that everybody is at a level anyway. Most of the players are at the minute.
“It’s an important game and we’ll pick the team we believe can go out and give a very good account of Dundee Football Club and give us a chance to beat a very good St Johnstone team.”
Davidson has done a ‘remarkable’ job at McDiarmid Park
As for the Perth men, McPake has been impressed with the job boss Callum Davidson has done in guiding his side to the top six and a Betfred Cup season in his first season in the McDiarmid Park dugout.
And, having crossed paths with Davidson on coaching courses, he’s not been surprised by the success either as his Dark Blues side aim to cause an upset.
McPake continued: “Callum’s done an excellent job.
“I really like him and, first and foremost, he’s a really good guy.
“Myself and Dave (Mackay) did our Pro Licence with him and he’s a fantastic coach.
“The job he’s done there is remarkable, if I’m honest. The way he’s got his team playing, they’re good to watch in the system he plays.
“They’re very fluid and a real threat. To go and win a cup, even in the games against Celtic and Rangers I’ve watched them in, they’ve been in those games.
“They’ve never really been out of games and that’s credit to Callum and his coaching staff.
“Our aim is to put a good show on for Dundee and give them a real test when they come here.
“We’re at home and we’ve got to try to take the game to them.
“We know it’s going to be really tough, we’re under no illusions that any game is easy, but add in what they’ve done this season and it makes it even harder.
“It’s a cup-tie and it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.
“You need a level of performance to win any game but for this we need to be at our very best, I believe.
“It takes that performance against Dunfermline, minus the first six minutes, or the one we had at Hearts here (a 3-1 win).
“We need to hit those levels right through the pitch to give ourselves a chance.”