The fear of a Covid-19 infection ravaging squads this season has made the January transfer window more difficult than ever.
That’s the view of a frustrated James McPake as he attempts to bolster his Dundee side this month.
The Dark Blues have already experienced the chaos that can ensue when coronavirus decimates a matchday squad.
McPake’s men were down to the bare bones at Aberdeen and chose not to call on any of his substitutes in the 2-1 defeat.
St Mirren were badly affected in December also, as were Dundee United, with both sides facing Celtic and Rangers respectively with severely under-strength sides.
With the pandemic ongoing, McPake says convincing other clubs to allow fringe players to leave has been an uphill struggle.
‘Clubs are worried’
So far this month the Dark Blues have only added free agent Jay Chapman to their ranks, though that is still subject to the approval of a work permit.
And they have been unsuccessful in attempts to bring Sam Cosgrove back to Scotland on loan while a move for Celtic defender Osaze Urhoghide has “stalled”.
“It is a tough, tough window,” McPake said.
“It is frustrating.
“The January window can be but this one in particular is difficult due to Covid.
“We’re seeing clubs are worried about who they send out on loan or permanently.
“Players who would potentially be allowed out are being kept.
“Clubs will have seen our Aberdeen game and St Mirren and Dundee United are examples too.
“We’re seeing clubs will be more prepared in terms of squad depth going into the second half of the season.
“We need to make sure the club isn’t as affected as much as that Aberdeen game again.
“I think every club is like that and are reluctant to let anyone go at the minute.”
To bolster squad numbers, Fin Robertson, Declan McDaid and Josh Mulligan have returned to Dens Park after their loans came to an end.
And McPake insists Dundee will be “selfish” when considering if they head back out for the remainder of the campaign.