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EXCLUSIVE: Tony Docherty names Dundee stars sparking welcome selection headache as he discusses goalkeeper ‘competition’

The Dark Blues complete their pre-season schedule at Dunfermline on Wednesday.

Tony Docherty.
Dundee boss Tony Docherty. Image: SNS

Tony Docherty admits he’s been given food for thought during Dundee’s pre-season training camp in Poland.

The Dark Blues spent a week near the city of Poznan and took in two friendly matches – defeating Banik Ostrava 3-0 before coming from behind to draw with Lech Poznan.

There were new faces on show with Ethan Ingram making his first appearance for the club and trialists in the shape of Ethan Bristow and Alex Rodriguez Gorrin.

But Docherty’s existing squad have also made their cases for further involvement next season.

Dundee celebrate Fin Robertson's goal to make it 3-0.
Dundee celebrate Fin Robertson’s goal to make it 3-0 against Banik Ostrava. Image: David Young

Fin Robertson has made clear his ambition to build on last season’s 13 Premiership appearances in an exclusive chat with Courier Sport.

The 21-year-old has featured more in pre-season than any other player.

First he played 90 minutes at Arbroath – the only player to do so – then 24 minutes off the bench against Banik Ostrava was followed by another 90 against Poznan.

‘Give me that problem every day’

Normally a central midfielder, Robertson has featured mainly on the left flank.

And that versatility is a real positive for Docherty.

“Fin was excellent,” the Dundee boss told Courier Sport.

“I’m asking players like Fin and Josh Mulligan as well to play in that wing-back role.

“Both did fantastically well but that’s testament to the type of boys I’ve got here, that they’ll do everything for their team.

Fin Robertson takes on Banik Ostrava in Poland.
Fin Robertson takes on Banik Ostrava in Poland. Image: David Young

“They’ll play in an area where they are maybe not familiar.

“I spoke with Fin and he really enjoyed the Lech Poznan game.

“That then gives me something else to think about. Give me that problem every day.

“Having quality players who can adapt within a system was a strong part of our game on Saturday.

“We played two systems, the second one more of a box, but I thought both we did very well.”

Cammy Kerr, Max Anderson and Zak Rudden

Also getting game time in Poland were three players who spent the second half of last season out on loan as first-team opportunities dried up in the Premiership.

Cammy Kerr and Max Anderson both went to Inverness while Zak Rudden joined play-off finalists Raith Rovers.

Cammy Kerr enjoys a joke in Poland.
Cammy Kerr enjoys a joke in Poland. Image: David Young

Asked whether the trio were in his first team plans for the season to come, Docherty responded: “We were in Poland as a squad and everybody got the chance to impress.

“Everybody has. The ones who have come on and got minutes, yep, they are brilliant team-mates because they will come on and help the team.

“They did exactly that.

“It has been a good trip and they’ve been a part of that.”

Is Jon McCracken first choice?

What about the goalkeeping situation?

Jon McCracken joined the club on a permanent basis last month and has played the vast majority of the club’s three friendly matches.

Trevor Carson played a half at Arbroath last week before missing out of the following two with his ongoing knee issue.

Harry Sharp played 24 minutes against Banik Ostrava while Adam Legzdins wasn’t called upon.

Dundee goalkeeper Jon McCracken.
Dundee goalkeeper Jon McCracken. Image: SNS

McCracken was handed the No 1 jersey on signing and has been the main man so far.

But is his starting position set in stone?

“No, every position has competition,” Docherty replied.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes in personnel but I like the [3-5-2] system and we have players to play that system.

“We have good, good options and I want for every position healthy competition.

“I will endeavour to get that all the time.

“That plays a huge part in the competitiveness of the squad – if you are competing to get in the team, you’ll compete to stay in the team.

“That’s a big factor that we had last year and we’ll have that this year.”

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