Micky Mellon says he is “100% committed” to Dundee United and is targeting a deal for Marc McNulty.
The United boss insists his future is at Tannadice until he is told differently as he laid out plans for the summer transfer window.
The wheels are already in motion to do a deal for on-loan Reading hitman McNulty to return to the club in some capacity next season, with Mellon looking bring in some new faces.
Only last month the 49-year-old was linked with a move back down south – where he spent most of his playing and management career – to League One Doncaster.
The former Tranmere gaffer talked down the speculation at the time and did the same again ahead of Wednesday night’s Motherwell clash.
‘I will keep pushing and driving this club forward’
“That never unsettled me, any of it,” Mellon said.
“I am 100% committed and I can’t be any more committed to trying to drive this on to get the club to the level of a consistently-challenging Premiership team.
“We’re trying to get into the top six and the latter stages of the cups all the time.
“I have always been 100% in wanting to do that.
“I have moved my family up here and we love it up here.
“Until I am told any different, I will keep pushing and driving this club forward.”
United to open conversations with Reading over McNulty
The desire is there from Mellon to do a deal for McNulty, who has scored five goals this season, but the United boss says it counts on agreement from the player himself and parent club Reading.
“I think he has done well,” Mellon added.
“We spoke about it on Monday morning. We all know he’s a No 9 and he’s done a job for us wide of a front three.
“He’s had a right good go at that but I think his best position is probably as a nine.
“Goal-scoring is where his instincts are.
“Considering he’s not played where I believe is his best position, he’s made a big contribution to us, on and off the pitch.
“He’s a good character with great personality and he’s a very talented footballer.”
As to whether a deal is possible, he continued: “That will be up to us, Reading and Marc to speak about, which we will probably do in the next week or two.
“We’ve tentatively spoken about stuff but haven’t really looked at everything overall.
“We’ll bring all our ideas to the table and see where we believe all of us are and make decisions going forward about how we want to take it forward.”
No Ipswich approach for Benjamin Siegrist as Terrors target new faces
On the wider recruitment front, Mellon is targeting new faces next season but distanced himself from 22-year-old Swedish international winger Daleho Irandust, currently at BK Hacken.
Mellon also said he’s heard nothing from Ipswich regarding goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, out of contract next summer.
“We have a lot of people who work very hard at our recruitment,” he said.
“They will be putting stuff together to bring to our attention to make Dundee United better.
“There are areas in the team where we are a bit light, in certain positions and types of players.
“They would need to be of the right profile to come here.
“We are actively looking to make it better.
“From day one we sat down with the recruitment people and spoke about where we need to improve or whether we can organically improve by bringing on young players.
“Is there any of them coming on now that we can bring in?
“It’s all about how can we move Dundee United forward. How can we get more consistent and grow?
“There are ongoing conversations about that all the time.
“I would expect there will be new faces coming in and we are working on stuff at the minute.
“There’s nothing over the line as of yet but there will be new faces coming in.”
Kid defender Smith should be on the radar of clubs like Aston Villa and Manchester United
In terms of potential outgoings, young centre-half Kerr Smith has been attracting interest from down south for as long as he’s been in the first-team picture.
This week, however, Aston Villa reportedly stepped up their interest after Manchester United missed out on a deal for the 16-year-old.
Other Premier League sides like Liverpool, Leicester City and Southampton have also taken an interest in the kid defender but Mellon moved quickly to sully the rumours.
“Until, and this hasn’t happened, somebody comes to me and says they’re interested in Kerr and want to take him then there’s nothing really happening,” he said.
“I haven’t seen it. I’ve not read the papers so there’s nothing happening.
“He’s a talented boy. We enjoy having him here and watching him progress.
“I’m not surprised there would be interest in a 16-year-old that’s as good as him.
“If the decision comes his or the club’s way then playing or not is a factor that will come into consideration for him, his family and the club.
“Nobody has come to myself and given me a decision to make.
“If there’s no interest in a 16-year-old boy playing in the Scottish Premiership you’re kind of wondering why not?
“Nothing has came to us to even start thinking about.”
Peripheral figures will get opportunities in Motherwell and St Mirren clashes
Mellon says he’ll give kids like Smith and other fringe men opportunities this week in the final two games of their Premiership season.
United, currently ninth, take on the seventh-placed Steelmen on Wednesday and head for eighth-placed St Mirren on Sunday to see the campaign out.
“I need to give them the opportunity to play to see what they’ve got for us,” Mellon said.
“We want to see if there’s something there that can improve us and move us forward.
“They’ll get the opportunity to go and do that in the last couple of games.
“Apart from finishing seventh, eighth, ninth in the league, that’s all we’ve really sort of got to play for now.
“We’ll use the games as best we can to learn as much as we can about the group moving forward.
“I want to find out about boys.
“Obviously, we want to win games, that goes without saying but there is a bigger picture I need to look at.
“I need to learn what players are going to take us forward. Are they going to play?
“You need to look at what you have in the building before you look at your recruitment.
“Some will get the opportunity to go and do that over the next couple of games.”
First season a ‘very good base’ to build on
Following Saturday’s 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Hibs at Hampden, Mellon reflects on the Tangerines’ first season back in the top flight as a successful one.
He believes Premiership safety and an appearance at the national stadium is a very good base to build on.
He commented: “We, obviously, had to come into it and set a base to try and work forward from.
“We’ve set a very good base. To better this is going to have to be a cup final and top six.
“That’s a very big target for us but we’ll go and attack next season when it comes around.
🗣 "It's been a good run and given the fans some excitement but talking for all the boys we're disappointed we couldn't get into the final."
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) May 8, 2021
“We need a rest. It will be good to get the fans back in. There are plenty of positives to look forward to.
“Where does this season rank? I’d say we were looking to set a ranking that we could work forward from but we never knew what that was going to be.
“We had to make sure we stayed in the division so that Dundee United fans could see their team in the Premiership was definitely one of our targets.
“Having a good run in the cup was also a bonus.”