Andrew Davies could be the difference between Dundee staying up or going down according to the man who’s seen plenty of him this season.
The former Ross County skipper has teamed up with his old Staggies gaffer Jim McIntyre once more at Dens Park after switching from Hartlepool to the Dark Blues on a free transfer on Thursday.
The signing has been met with a degree of concern for the 34-year-old’s injury history.
The centre-back has a recurring problem which has to be managed, however, if Dundee can get him in the team for the majority of the remaining 16 league games, that might be enough.
That’s the view of former Tele football writer Liam Kennedy, who’s seen plenty of Davies this season with his patch now covering Hartlepool United in the National League.
He said: “He’ll not play week in, week out because of a recurring nerve problem he has but if Dundee get 10 games out of him between now and the end of the season that might be enough.
“When he signed, he and Liam Noble from Notts County were seen as the marquee signings in the summer. After last season, everyone expected a struggle but when they came in expectations changed to possibly a top-seven finish.
“Up until October that was probably on the cards but they’ve dropped like a stone since, though that’s not to do with Davies. When he’s played he’s been excellent.”
Quickly after signing for his boyhood club Pools in the summer, Davies was made club captain – a role he performed with distinction at Ross County, too – but Kennedy says Hartlepool’s loss will be Dundee’s gain.
“He’s played for some good clubs and Dundee fans can look forward to him putting his head or whatever in where it hurts,” he added.
“He’s somebody who plays for the badge and is a real battler, aggressive and whole-hearted.
“Getting 10 games from him might be the difference between staying up and going down for Dundee.
“Going away to a tough place like Aberdeen or Hearts or Hibs and you need somebody to head away every ball and give everything to win, he’s your man.
“That’s something Hartlepool never had last season and I’m disappointed they’ve lost him for his leadership.
“He’s a real leader and they’ll miss his presence around the place.
“He was brilliant at times in the National League. It’s a really physical league, every team has massive strikers and lots play route one and he’s perfect for that.
“He’s got such a good leap and there weren’t many better defenders in the league than him.”
As well as a leader, Dundee have signed themselves a fighter – something that can get the better of him every now and then.
“He loves a battle but lets it spill over a bit sometimes, which is the down side.
“He got sent off at Wrexham after half an hour for nutting somebody and they got beat – if he’s only playing 10 games or so then Dundee can’t be having him suspended and missing games.
“You take that side away totally, though, and he’s not half the player.
“He plays right on the edge but I’d be surprised if there’s anybody in the Premiership will beat him in the air.
“He’s also clever with his positioning so doesn’t get caught out by pace too much – he was the best defender in the National League because of that.
“He’ll crank it up in training and will be putting the foot in when required when some wouldn’t and might just spark something in others.
“Jim McIntyre knows him and if he’s looking for somebody with a nasty streak, they’ve picked the right man.”