Kane Hemmings is expecting another “tasty” contest against Ayr tomorrow as Dundee search for answers to solve their problematic home form.
The Dark Blues welcome the Honest Men to Dens Park this weekend knowing defeat will see them fall five points behind their opponents in third.
That’s after second-placed Inverness moved six ahead of them with a 2-0 away win to make it just two victories in Dundee’s last six home matches.
Striker Hemmings, who netted 28 times in 44 appearances in his first spell with the club, says there is a big difference three years on when the Dark Blues take to the field at Dens.
He told the Tele: “In the Premiership no one was coming here and sitting in against Dundee.
“It was two teams ready to go for the win and they were very open games.
“Now, it’s completely different because opposition teams come here to shut us out and it’s completely different type of game from when I was here before.
“It is different but that’s where we need to find the answers to break teams down.
“It’s more difficult, everything needs to be pinpoint and more precise. Some things you might get away with when it’s more open, you don’t.
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“Inverness were good at it last week. They sit with six players behind the ball and maybe cheat with a couple up the park and counter you well.
“We need to find the answers to open teams up.”
Dundee’s form going into last weekend’s clash with Caley Thistle was good with two wins and two draws in their previous four.
That four-game spell in December was their best since August and Hemmings knows it’s something the team have to improve on.
He added: “We’re tired talking about it, to be honest.
“We’ve had moments where we think we’re getting there and we’re away on a good run but have games like Inverness last week.
“We can’t just do it for three or four games but we need seven or eight in a row to really assert ourselves.
“The performances going back to the second half against Arbroath had been really good.
“We’ve been positive in the way we’ve played, some good performances.
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“Last week was a chance to close the gap on Inverness and go level on points with them. It was disappointing in that regard.
“This will be another big game because Ayr are a good team and we need to pick ourselves back up.”
Tomorrow’s clash comes after tests against league leaders Dundee United, second-placed Inverness and ahead of a difficult Scottish Cup tie at home to high-flying Premiership side Motherwell.
It’s a testing run for the players but Hemmings is relishing the chance to get back out and into a big match.
He said: “It is good to have another big game this weekend.
“We knew there were three big home games in a row with the Scottish Cup the week after.
“That’s what you want – you always want to test yourself as a player.
“It’s a good game to jump back into.”
The last meeting with Ayr saw Dundee leave Somerset Park with an impressive 2-1 victory. That night saw plenty of tackles flying about and Hemmings expects no different this time around.
“Whatever way they go, it’ll be a difficult game for us, we know that.
“It was a tough game down there and a bit tasty as well – I expect the same this weekend.”