Manager Neil McCann has bemoaned the mistakes being made by Dundee’s defence over the past few weeks – so how then can they keep out Motherwell’s men of steel this weekend?
With goals not going in at the top end of the park, the pressure has been heaped on the Dark Blues defenders to keep clean sheets and, with them, points on the board.
However, that pressure over the first three games of the campaign has been too much for the backline to manage 90 minutes without gifting the opposition a gilt-edged chance to score – Jack Hamilton’s stumble on the ball at St Mirren, Genseric Kusunga’s handball at home to Aberdeen and then Josh Meekings’ ill-timed offside trap on Saturday at St Johnstone all led to goals for the opposition.
So what will they be facing up to this weekend against the Steelmen?
A fierce barrage of physicality, to put it bluntly.
However their matches go, teams know they’ve been in a game against Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell.
The Fir Park side have no worries about upsetting their opponents and will take the game to anyone they come up against.
They have a very clear style – direct and to the point.
And that’s served them well, particularly in cup football with two finals to their name last season.
At the forefront of that is an imposing frontline led by a selection of Curtis Main, Conor Sammon and Ryan Bowman.
When it comes to set-pieces they’ll be joined by the men from the back – Peter Hartley and Tom Aldred.
That’s an average height of about 6ft 1in to contend with – and a serious amount of brawn, too.
There’s guile as well, coming from players like Chris Cadden, Alan Campbell and Craig Tanner that has to be dealt with.
However, it’s the physical battle Dundee’s defenders will really have to contend with at Dens Park on Saturday.
It’s not like the Dark Blues are shrinking violets themselves, it has to be said.
England cap Steven Caulker will be the biggest man on the pitch and his dominance in the air will be a real asset, should he play at the weekend.
Beside him – or possibly instead of – will be Josh Meekings and Genseric Kusunga, two powerhouses, who will have to show their strength and physical mettle to repel what’s thrown at them from Motherwell.
Just as key will be stopping the delivery from the likes of Cadden and Gael Bigirimana – avoiding giving away cheap free-kicks is a must throughout, too.
That means stopping the danger at source, i.e. blocking crosses into the box.
Over the past few games, the manager’s preferred full-backs have been Nathan Ralph on the left and Jesse Curran on the right.
Both have shown they are capable of late and will have to continue that this weekend.
At the top end, Sofien Moussa is Dundee’s biggest battering ram, even if he took that description too literally against Ayr United, while new boys Ben Kallman, Elton Ngwatala and Kharl Madianga all look sturdy enough to handle themselves.
The clash of styles – Dundee’s passing game against ’Well’s directness – will be intriguing.
If the Dark Blues are to impose their way on the game, they’ll have to handle the physical side of it first, however.