James McPake has revealed Jordon Forster was at the top of the list of targets when he agreed to become Dundee manager.
The 25-year-old central defender signed for the Dark Blues on Saturday then joined them on the plane to Spain for their pre-season training camp at the Real Club de Golf Campoamor Resort in Murcia.
Forster didn’t feature in the first friendly of the summer at Brechin, which the Dens men won 2-1, but he is expected to get a runout tomorrow when they play Nottingham Forest in at the Pinatar Arena.
That is also the case for midfielder Jamie Ness, who joined on Friday.
McPake knows Forster – his seventh signing of the summer – very well, having worked with him when they were both at Hibs.
It is because he knows exactly the qualities he brings to the club that the Dundee manager priotised his recruitment.
McPake said: “I know Jordon very well as he was a kid at Hibs when I was there.
“When I first spoke to (Dundee managing director) John Nelms and he told me about the job, Jordon was one of the very first names I highlighted and said that we should bring him in if at all possible.
“Jordon then knocked the deal back at Cheltenham and we managed to get him here.
“He is an animal and a monster on the pitch. He is desperate to get going.
“I have known Jordon for the best part of eight years now and I know his character.
“It was great seeing him develop as a kid and for me to be able to help him develop as a player.
“I am now looking forward to working with him as a manager.
“We do have options at the back now and you do need them all over the park.
“We wanted to get the bottom side of the pitch sorted and I believe we have done that now with Jordon’s signing.
“I think we have quality, experience and potential in the mix now.
“I’m sure that will benefit us as a club as we move forward.”
Temperatures in Murcia are expected to climb into the mid-30 degrees Celsius this week so it could be a challenge for the players, especially when they face first Forest tomorrow then Scunthorpe United behind closed doors on Friday.
However, McPake is relishing the trip.
He said: “It is great that we have this trip as it’s an opportunity to get everybody together.
“It will be tough because it will be a hard week of work for the players on the training pitch and we have a couple of games as well.
“It’s all about working towards when the real stuff starts.”
As for the weather, McPake joked: “It will be all right for me as I’ll have the shorts on and be just fine.
“Seriously, I did hate it (the heat) when I was a player doing pre-season but the lads will be OK.
“We have fantastic facilities and we can also train at night with the lights on.
“We knew it was going to be hot but you work in a scientific way that monitors the players and tells us how hard they are working.
“So all will be well.”
Meanwhile, Dundee confirmed yesterday that Kerr Waddell has left Dens following the expiry of his contract.