James McPake admits this week’s postponement of Dundee’s Championship clash at Raith Rovers came at a good time for his squad.
The Dark Blues are in a good vein of form after going seven games unbeaten in all competitions and winning their last four, even if it took extra-time against Bonnyrigg on Saturday.
Normally that would mean they’d want to keep the ball rolling according to the Dens gaffer but he is thankful for some extra time on his hands this week.
Tuesday night’s trip to Kirkcaldy was put back after Raith’s cup clash with Stirling Albion was postponed at the weekend.
Dundee would likely have been missing a few bodies with the right-back position in particular a concern.
Central defender Lee Ashcroft stepped into that role for the cup match with Bonnyrigg Rose at the weekend with McPake’s first three options unavailable.
Christie Elliott has been first-choice all season but an old ankle injury had flared up and the decision to treat that was made with the knowledge Cammy Kerr was ready and waiting.
However, Kerr was ruled out due to Covid-19 rules along with Declan McDaid while McGhee, who has played that position throughout his career, was also out with an ankle knock picked up against Hearts.
McPake said: “We are playing well and we want to be playing all the time. Watching Saturday back there was a lot of good stuff.
“We are in a good place but maybe it is a good thing now we have a bit of extra time this week.
“It gives time for Christie Elliott to train, for Jordan McGhee to do the same and we will have Cammy Kerr and Declan McDaid back so the squad will be full.
“It probably has worked out well to have a game off, to be honest.
“It is catch-22 because we want to play all the time but we also want to play when we are strong.”
New Covid-19 rules
New rules from the SFA and SPFL’s Joint Response Group after the suspension of all football below the Championship come into play ahead of the weekend clash with Ayr United.
Second-tier clubs now have to test their player for coronavirus every week but McPake insists there won’t be too much changing in his preparations despite that.
“The testing is something we were prepared for in the first place anyway,” he said.
“We expected that to be happening at the start of the season.
“We’ve done it twice against Hibs already this season but now we need to do it weekly.
“Everything is in place here and ready to go.”
Asked whether he is concerned the Championship might be next to be stopped, McPake replied: “That’s not my concern, I’ve said before that the health and wellbeing of my players and staff here is my main focus.
“I would be devastated if the season stopped and there will be clubs below us who are devastated.
“But the decision has been made and we just take it week by week.
“We have a game on Saturday which we are preparing for – until told otherwise that’s what we will continue to do.”
Returning loan players
Meanwhile, youngsters Lyall Cameron and Sam Fisher have returned from loan spells at Peterhead and Forfar Athletic respectively.
After recovering from a serious knee injury last season, central defender Fisher played nine times while at Station Park.
Cameron, meanwhile, played 15 times and scored three times for Jim McInally’s side in League One.