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Dundee boss Gary Bowyer on re-energising before big Championship kick-off, the Royal Mile and a Partick Thistle benchmark

Dundee manager Gary Bowyer.
Dundee manager Gary Bowyer.

A walk up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle can at times seem an uphill struggle, even to the most seasoned hillwalker.

For a football manager, a season in the Scottish Championship can be an even tougher climb.

An uphill struggle would certainly be a mild metaphor for some campaigns in the second tier.

Dundee boss Gary Bowyer is on the eve of his league debut north of the border as he prepares his side to face Partick Thistle at Dens Park on Saturday.

To calm his excitement – “I’m buzzing, absolutely buzzing” he says – the former Blackburn and Blackpool boss has been enjoying some down time.

Dundee boss Gary Bowyer.
Dundee boss Gary Bowyer.

A trip with his wife to Edinburgh is just one of a number of outings Bowyer has enjoyed in his short period in Scotland.

And he says trips that take him away from the day-to-day job of being a football manager in fact make him better at his job.

‘It re-energises me’

Asked about the opening day of the season, where Dens Park will be fully open to fans after smaller attendances in the Premier Sports Cup, Bowyer replied: “I can’t wait. I’m buzzing, absolutely buzzing.

“I have been from the minute I arrived.

“We’ve only had our fans in one stand so far and the noise and atmosphere generated was terrific.

Dundee boss Gary Bowyer salutes the Dens Park crowd ahead of his first match in charge.
Dundee boss Gary Bowyer salutes the Dens Park crowd ahead of his first match in charge.

“To have all four open and bigger numbers, I’m sure Partick Thistle will bring a good following, it’ll be an exciting opening day.

“It’s not just on the football side but living up here, there are so many new experiences.

“This week I managed to have the morning in Edinburgh with my wife, just going round the city, going to the castle, up the Royal Mile, I loved it.

“I was at St Andrews last Sunday and I loved that as well.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

“Experiencing new things re-energises me and makes me better a better manager.

“There are so many beautiful spots in this country and having the opportunity to switch off for a little bit is really helpful.

“It was just for a little bit, though, because my phone was going quite a lot on Wednesday!”

Benchmark

Despite the down-time, the life of a football manager never strays too far away from the game.

With a new league season just days away, the fervour to add fresh faces escapes no one.

Though Bowyer admitted his hopes of bringing in a new player by Saturday faded a little yesterday.

Whether that happens or not, he’s been delighted by the start his current squad have made.

Dundee's Cammy Kerr celebrates the opening goal at Stranraer.
Dundee have enjoyed their start to the campaign.

Four wins from their four early-season cup games have generated excitement among supporters that there may be a successful campaign ahead.

Bowyer, though, says Saturday’s game will be a real step up for his side.

And it will tell him exactly how far Dundee are away from being the title favourites they have been touted to be.

“It gives us confidence from playing four and winning four but I do anticipate the league being different,” he added.

“I think Saturday will give us a real measure of where the squad is at.

“We are against an experienced team with an experienced manager and they’ve been in place for a while now.

Dundee manager Gary Bowyer opened Yes Hire in Dundee this week along with branch manager Alan Morrell (left) and managing director David Johnstone.

“It will be a good benchmark for us and I will learn a lot after Saturday.

“From what local agents have informed me, they have had a go this summer.

“They have depth and experience in the squad, some real good players and the manager knows the apple.

“They will be contenders, that’s for sure.”

Open

He added: “The Championship is going to be tough.

“Looking at the league, there will be so many teams who fancy their chances of getting promoted.

“I think it will be one of the most open in a while.

“We have to look after ourselves and make sure we are really competitive in every game we play.”

Whichever way it goes, Saturday’s clash with the Jags could well tell us how far Bowyer’s Dundee are from avoiding an uphill struggle and scaling that Championship mountain come May.

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