Dundee are expecting to face a fully fit and firing Ross County in Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup clash.
The Staggies have been struck by a Covid outbreak over the past fortnight.
That saw them forfeit their match against Forfar last weekend and shut down their football department.
However, Dark Blues boss James McPake has no doubts Malky Mackay will have his side more than ready for the Dingwall clash.
“It will be a step up for us,” said McPake.
“I watched them at the tail-end of last season, though there has been a lot changed since then with a new manager as well.
“They’ve obviously been hit by Covid but they’ll be fine, we don’t think that will affect them. We’ve had a similar situation and we just hope everyone there is healthy.
“It will be a tough game. It is Premiership opposition and it will be a new challenge for us because we don’t know too much about them.
“There’s not much to find on them due to not having played many games but don’t let that fool you.
“We will take them on as if they are fit and strong and ready because they will be.
“I know people who played under Malky at Cardiff and that’s something you always see in his teams, they will be fit and ready.
“We are looking forward to every game right now.”
Clash not a taster for the Premiership says McPake
After winning promotion, Dundee will be battling it out with Ross County in the Premiership this season.
Sunday’s game will, therefore, give the Dark Blues an idea of what they might face in the top flight.
McPake, though, rejects the idea this weekend’s clash will have any bearing on the league campaign to come.
His sole concern is continuing the good run his side are on – they have lost just twice in the last 14 games in all competitions, winning nine of them.
🔥 Paul McMullan was on fire last night!
👏 His 2 goals and 2 assists inspired @DundeeFC to a 4-0 win over Brora Rangers last night.
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 14, 2021
Victory in the Highlands would put Dundee in pole position in Group C and likely knock the Staggies out.
Asked whether Sunday would be a taster for upcoming Premiership campaign, McPake replied: “No, this is the League Cup.
“The Premiership gets put to the side right now, all we focus on is this competition.
“It’s such an important competition and one you want to get through. We want to progress and have cup runs.
“This is a huge cup tie.
“We’re looking to be as positive as we have been and take the game to a higher quality opposition.”
Missing for Dundee will be striker Danny Mullen after he picked up an ankle injury in a friendly draw with West Ham last week.
However, scan results have shown it is not a serious injury and the frontman will return to training next week.
Also showing no lasting effects is left-back Jordan Marshall.
He came off during Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Brora Rangers but McPake says he’ll be fine for Sunday.
“Marshall just felt something tighten up,” the Dens boss said.
“He wanted to keep playing but we were 4-0 up so there was no point risking it. He’s fine.
“We’re really pleased with Danny Mullen. He’ll be back running Monday. The scan was good, it was just your normal ankle roll with no real damage to ligaments or anything.
“He’s no chance for Sunday but maybe next week, we’ll assess him then.”