Jordon Forster candidly confesses that while trying to remain fully focused on what Dundee are doing, he still has one eye on table-topping neighbours Dundee United.
The Dark Blues dispelled some of the negativity that had enveloped the team following the recent defeats in the derby and the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup tie loss to Elgin City by beating Alloa in the Championship at Dens last week.
At the same time, the Tangerines’ 100% winning start to the league campaign came to a halt at Ayr United.
The combination of results meant the Dark Blues had cut the gap on their city rivals to four points and Forster admitted there was no disguising the importance of doing that even at this early stage of the season.
The 25-year-old centre-half said: “It was a very good result against Alloa. Despite the back-to-back defeats against Dundee United and Elgin City, on the whole it’s been positive so far.
“The 6-2 result at Tannadice was terrible on our part and the first half of the Dunfermline game was pretty poor.
“So a lot of that positivity had been taken away because of what’s happened recently so it was just good to get back to winning ways and put any negativity to bed.”
Forster added: “I’m an honest guy.
“You’ll speak to players who’ll say it’s all about us.
“But the fact of the matter is there was a gap developing (with United) which we were all aware of.
“So the result last weekend with them losing at Ayr United, and us beating Alloa did make a difference. We’ve gained three points on them.
“While we concentrate on ourselves first and foremost, we’ll obviously see what happens elsewhere.”
Forster though is fully aware that before the Dundee players can even think about checking to see how United have fared against Arbroath today, they have to take care of their own business when they travel through to face Morton in Greenock.
Forster said: “We know exactly what it will be like at Cappielow. We’ve worked on a few things this week so that we’re ready.
“It is a tough place to go, and I’m sure there will be points during the game when we’ll be under some pressure.
“It will be all about showing things such as desire, work-rate and organisation. These factors will all be key.
“We’ll have to fight hard for 90-plus minutes and be good on the ball when we’ve got it.
“So we’re positive about it and looking forward to going there.”
Dundee’s defence was miserly at the start of the season and Forster is determined to rediscover that habit, starting at Morton.
Forster said: “Of course, we want to get back to trying to get clean sheets.
“We were doing that prior to the Dundee United game which was very disappointing, losing basic goals from set-pieces.
“If you exclude that game, we might have lost only one goal from a set-piece and kept quite a few clean sheets as well.”
Forster knows Dundee boss James McPake well having played alongside him when they were both at Hibs.
And the player admitted his manager still shows the same passion on the touchline as he did when he was on the pitch.
Forster said: “The gaffer is similar to when I knew him at Hibs, and very different in other aspects.
“He’s very clear in what he wants from you and demands the highest standards.
“He knows how he wants you to play and how he wants you to be as a player.
“His hunger and passion is still as strong as when he was a player at Easter Road.
“I think the differences are now that he’s a manager, he has to take himself outside the zone so that he can assess and analyse things a bit more.
“It’s his first managerial job so obviously he’ll be learning as he goes along.”
Forster has also played for English sides Plymouth Argyle and Cheltenham Town but he admitted the training at Dundee is the toughest he has ever known.
Forster said: “It’s so keen and competitive every single day.
“This club is the hardest I’ve ever been at in terms of statistics, and how far I run each week.”