Dundee boss James McPake has cast doubt on a move for midfielder Ross Callachan amid continuing uncertainty over Scottish football’s restart.
Former Hearts man, Callachan, was among a group of players told they were being released by St Johnstone earlier this month.
He joined the Dark Blues on loan in January but, in his fourth appearance, suffered a leg fracture that ended his season prematurely.
Such was his impact, it was expected McPake would be looking to bring the 26-year-old back to Dens Park this summer.
However, with no date set for the Championship to restart – and with reconstruction still a possibility – Dundee aren’t in a position to start offering contracts.
And the Dark Blues gaffer has stated his first item of business once he knows his playing budget will be to sign up Paul McGowan and Josh Meekings on new deals.
“Ross did really well for us before his injury but we are in such uncertain times it’s tough to sit and say this is what we’re doing,” said McPake.
“We are still planning, we have to keep doing that and looking at players.
“So that work is ongoing but until the uncertainty over what the league is going to look like and when it’s going to start there are too many ifs and buts.
“But right now it would be wrong to do anything while we have players at the club I’d like to keep but we can’t sign up at the moment.
“While there is uncertainty over that it would be wrong of me to come out and say I’d like to sign this, this and this.
“It will only be once we get a firm start date for training and matches starting that we’ll be able to hammer down what we’re doing and who we are bringing in.”
Last week, the club gave short extensions to McGowan, Meekings and young left-back Tom Field, whose contracts were due to end on June 10.
That granted the players a few weeks extra pay but the main reason was to give the club more time to consider their options says McPake.
“We have extended the contracts of the players who were going out-of-contract in June,” he added.
“By allowing that it has given us time to assess what’s going on when we get a bit more clarity.
“Hopefully, when we come to readdress it next we will know a clearer picture of what’s happening.
“It’s not so much tiding them over, it’s about waiting for information on what’s going on.
“If we’d been playing normally then I would imagine deals would have been done.
“The likes of Paul McGowan has been a massive figure here, he’s been here for six years now and is very highly thought of.
“I’d had a conversation with him in January about getting a new contract and he was fine with it, it would have been done if it wasn’t for the current circumstances.
“There has just been so much uncertainty and the players are comfortable with the situation.
“Once we get some guidance from the government and the SFA about playing again we’ll be in a better position to do things.”
McPake added: “This summer is different to any other one, it’s a unique time in football.
“I have been speaking to agents and everyone is saying the same.
“I feel for the players who are out of contract this summer because the uncertainty is a real worry for them.
“There is a perception that footballers are highly-paid but that’s not the case in Scotland.
“It’s not the same as England, players need to be earning to pay their bills.
“Most of the players in Scotland are taking home working wages, it’s not the same as down south.
“There are a few clubs in Scotland who pay very well but beyond that it’s much of a muchness.
“You see players every summer who can go full-time but don’t because they have a good job and it makes sense for them to keep working.
“Thomas O’Brien at Arbroath is a good example. He had a very good season and I know for a fact there were full-time teams wanting to sign him.
“But he’s stayed with Arbroath and signed a three-year deal there because it suits him.
“He’s obviously happy with where he is and the likelihood is he has a good job.
“That shows how it’s different in Scotland and how we can’t be classed in the same league as England.”