Dundee derby: Paul Hartley hails Dark Blues’ defensive pairing

Thomas Konrad: part of a great pairing with James McPake.

Dundee manager Paul Hartley is backing his central defenders to cope with everything Dundee United can throw at them.

The Dens men host the first derby of the Premiership season on Sunday and with both clubs having made good starts to the campaign there is all to play for.

It is hard to pick a winner in this one but Hartley has confidence in James McPake and Thomas Konrad to keep United, who will be without banned striker Nadir Ciftci, at bay.

“They have been a great pairing and have worked really hard on the training ground,” said Hartley.

“They have been solid so far and I have been delighted with both of them.

“James has been absolutely outstanding for us and his leadership qualities have shone through since the very start of the season.

“I know James and I know his personality and that’s why I signed him. It was unfortunate for him that he didn’t play for Hibs but their loss is definitely our gain.

“Thomas Konrad just goes about his business as normal. He is very quiet but knows his job and does it very well.”

In saying that, Hartley wouldn’t say no if given the chance to further enhance his defensive options.

Hartley added: “We are always looking to add to the squad but that depends on the financial side of things.

“We have looked at it, though, and I feel we are a little bit thin on the ground as regards cover for the centre-back area.”

Hartley also praised Simon Ferry, who caused a load of trouble for St Johnstone in the 1-0 win at McDiarmid Park.

“Simon had a game in midweek then played on Saturday so hopefully he can get a good run of matches for us,” he said.

“He is a good player and a great lad to have in the dressing room. He is one of those characters who puts everything into the game, all the energy that he has.

“Hopefully, he will be a key player for us on Sunday like the rest of them.”