Dundee boss James McPake confirms interest in centre-half Ben Turner

© SNSJames McPake.
James McPake.

Dundee boss James McPake has confirmed he would like nothing better than to bring centre-half Ben Turner to Dens.

The Dark Blues boss has been heavily linked with making a move for his former Coventry team-mate with the 31-year-old currently a free agent after leaving Mansfield Town.

Turner, who has also played for the likes of Cardiff City and Peterborough, is understood to be on the radar of a whole host of clubs but McPake admitted he is also keen to add the towering defender to his squad.

The manager said last night: “Would I like Ben Turner at this football club? Absolutely. I would love to have him at Dundee.

“I played with him at Coventry and every team in Scotland would love Ben Turner at their club for what he brings.”

When asked if a deal with Turner was likely to happen, McPake was keeping his cards close to his chest and would only say: “Let’s wait and see.”

While remaining coy over Turner, McPake was happy to confirm that former Dundee United captain Fraser Fyvie will be taking part in the Dark Blues’ pre-season training.

The manager said: “Fraser will be coming in for a trial so we can have a look at him.”

However, one player who has left Dens is Jesse Curran.

McPake had hoped to persuade the 22-year-old to sign a new deal with the club but the wide midfielder, who made 40 appearances for the Dark Blues last season, has decided to move back home to Australia to try to find a club there.

The manager said: “I had a meeting with Jesse this morning.

“I am gutted about it but he is going to move back closer to his family and play some football there. “I have a good relationship with Jess as I had him with the Under-20s and 21s.

“I have seen him progressing and he is a right good footballer as well.

“He brings a lot of energy and someone is going to get a good player.

“I know how much work he has put in to make himself a first-team football player.

“Is the door open for Jesse Curran to come back here? I would never say no but I understand his reasons for wanting to go back home.”

Another Dundee player who McPake is keen to tie up to a new deal is Kerr Waddell.

However, discussions with the defender, who spent last season on loan at Morton, are still ongoing.

McPake added: “We are in contact with his agent and it is something we are looking at.

“I have had a good chat with Kerr and we are in discussions with him trying to do something.

“It is a bit slower than we had hoped but that is not anybody’s fault, it is just the way things have fallen into place with what we are trying to do and what Kerr is trying to do. So it is ongoing.”

Discussions are also ongoing with former Scotland boss Gordon Strachan who held further talks with Dundee managing director John Nelms this week over a possible technical director role.

However, one position that has been filled at Dens is that of Head of Professional Programme in charge of the Under-18 squad with Scott Robertson taking on the role.

The 34-year-old began his career as a youth with the Dark Blues going on to play over 100 times for the first team before moving to Dundee United.

Robertson was capped for Scotland and also played for the likes of Hibs and Blackpool.

He hung up his boots to accept a youth coaching role at Tannadice last season but left the club in March and is currently a player again with Forfar.

Stephen Wright, Dundee’s Head of Academy, said of the appointment: “The opportunity to have an ex Dundee first-team player who came through the Academy is brilliant and we are lucky to have him.”