2017/18 Preview – Dundee

After a summer of building, Neil McCann has got the majority of his new players in place for this season’s campaign This is my review on how I see the Dark Blues getting on this campaign.

After an ultimately disappointing season last term, Neil McCann had a big re-building job to do at Dens Park. He has got rid of players who failed to make an impact in the first-team on the whole with Dutchman Yordi Teijsse, Nick Ross and David Mitchell all leaving the club.

He has replaced these players with potential “unknowns” in this regard by bringing in experienced English Football League goalkeeper Elliot Parish; former Arsenal trainee Glen Kamara and Tunisian striker Sofien Moussa. In regards to the goalkeeping situation, I do not see Parish dispossessing Scott Bain of the jersey long term and I think Parish will play the same role as Mitchell did last year – I put this down as a like-for-like swap, however, with Parish being a relatively “unknown” name to Scottish football fans, this prediction may turn out to be false. Kamara has been brought up in a great environment and has the pedigree to suggest all he needs is games. With tried-and-tested midfielder Ross leaving the club, it gives an opportunity to a player who is looking to kick his career on and by getting the number 8 jersey this term, I suspect McCann has high hopes for Kamara. While, the judgement of the Dundee manager may already be proving successful after the addition of Moussa. After goals against Raith Rovers and Buckie Thistle, he grabbed a hat-trick against Cowdenbeath – while this maybe isn’t the standard of the Scottish Premiership, the striker has swiftly settled in with the Dees and if he can carry his impressive form into the league campaign, he may be the man to fire Dundee to a successful campaign.

Henrik Ojamma was allowed to go back to his parent club in Holland while Rory Loy and Daniel Higgins have also left. The biggest surprise for me was the departure of Frenchman Kevin Gomis: I ain’t going to pretend I saw him a lot last season, but, with the pedigree he had before joining Paul Hartley’s side last season and the already impressive nature of McCann, I felt he may have been someone the former-winger would have kept on to try and cut out the errors of his ways. However, I think what this shows is that McCann is very shrewd in his signings and is ruthless when it comes to who he wants.

Having brought in Jack Hendry, Roarie Deacon and Scott Allan, he has signed players who are hungry and determined to prove a point. Allan has had a frustrating time since joining Celtic nd will relish the opportunity to play regularly in the Premiership while Hendry has came home after his move down south didn’t go to plan. Deacon impressed for Sutton United in their English FA Cup campaign last term and this may have attracted McCann to the player; the winger will enjoy making the step back up the ranks and has already proven his worth in the BetFred Cup matches where he has already formed a great partnership with Cammy Kerr on the right hand side.

Randy Wolters coming in could also be classed as a “unknown” but the winger has looked good so far on the left-hand-side and will be an important squad player at Dens Park this season. However, I think the more interesting signing is Lewis Spence; having worked with him (and Faissal El Bakhtaoui) at Dunfermline, the Dundee boss clearly feels he can get the best out of the midfielder. If he can produce the goods from Spence then Dundee may have a player on their hands – after initially impressing for the Pars under Jim Jefferies, Spence struggled to play regularly under Allan Johnston and the 21-year-old will come firmly into the camp of being eager to impress and a willingness to succeed.

Looking at the squad assembled overall, I cannot see too many more reinforcements being brought in. With Kerr Waddell making the step up from the Under-20’s, the Dees may be covered at the back but with James McPake and Julen Etxabeguren injured long-term and Kostadin Gadzhalov struggling for fitness, the ex-Pars coach may consider bringing in one more central player to cover that role. Mark O’Hara is versatile and can cover there as well as Right-Back, but I suspect McCann won’t want him playing that far back if he can help it. On the left, Danny Williams can cover at Left-Back, but, again, McCann may feel a flexible Full-Back is also required. Apart from that, and despite Craig Wighton also suffering a serious injury, I do not see too many more fresh faces for the Dees.

In conclusion, I would say that it has been a successful summer for the City club and they should be aiming for a much more successful campaign this term. I think they will find it difficult as most sides will outside the top three or four this campaign but there is no reason why the Dark Blues can’t and won’t battle it out for a top six place, which they are more than capable with their present squad of achieving.

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