Kane Hemmings insists the Dundee players will revel in the role of underdogs when they make the short walk down the road on Friday night to face table-topping United at Tannadice.
The Dark Blues dropped two points against Inverness on Saturday in what was a frustrating afternoon at Dens with the game ending in a goal-less stalemate.
At the same time, the Tangerines were maintaining their 100% start to the season in the Championship, beating Dunfermline 2-0 at East End Park.
The bookies will undoubtedly make United favourites to continue that run at home against Dundee but Hemmings believes being underdogs can work in his team’s favour.
He said: “Yes, it can do. They are in red-hot form.
“They have won their first three games and they will probably go into the derby expecting to put us to bed.
“But we are not bothered about that. We just have to take care of ourselves and we will go down there with a game plan that we know can win us the match.
“We will be confident that we can do so.
“I played in a lot of derbies over the years and it is a very good one to play in.
“It is also a good one to come out on top in so we will look forward to the game.”
Dundee boss James McPake admitted the lacklustre performance on Saturday was a far cry from the sparkling display his players posted against Premiership Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup last Sunday.
The manager is still looking for his team to show greater consistency but he shouldered some of the blame for the absence of that quality against Caley.
He was certain, though, that everyone would be back at their best for the derby.
McPake said: “There was miles of a difference from last week in terms of quality but we are inconsistent at the minute.
“We are getting periods of games where we look really good and periods where we don’t look convinced at what we are doing.
“A lot of that lies with me as well. I am changing it, putting people on and changing shape, so I will go away and as a staff we will look at that and see if we can pinpoint where we are going wrong.
“As a group we will keep working away and we will get there.”
McPake added: “It will take nothing at all to lift the boys for the derby.
“The buzz for that starts now. It’s not an excuse but everything was focused on Inverness.
“Once we get this disappointment out of our system, we’ll start looking towards the derby.
Jamie Ness missed the Inverness game with a sickness bug while fellow midfielder, 16-year-old Finlay Robertson had to come off with cramp in his hamstrings but both players are expected to be fit for Friday.