Dundee fans can expect even better from skipper Charlie Adam in the coming campaign after he gets a full pre-season under his belt.
That’s the view of Dens Park boss James McPake as he prepares his side for their first pre-season friendly at Forfar on Saturday.
And Adam himself says all the hard work done in these first few weeks after the summer break is a vital foundation for the campaign ahead.
The Dark Blues skipper arrived in mid-September, just over three weeks before Dundee’s first match of 2020/21.
Prior to signing for his boyhood club, Adam had been training on his own and pondering his next move.
We are delighted to announce the signing of Charlie Adam on a two year deal #thedee
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) September 15, 2020
Fast forward to the start of season 2021/22 and the Dark Blues are preparing for life back in the Premiership while Adam has this week picked up the Championship Player of the Season award.
Despite that accolade, McPake reckons there is even more to come from his skipper in the top flight after getting a full close season under his belt.
“Charlie did a lot of work on his own last pre-season and came in to us late,” he said of his star man.
“I think you’ll see an even better Charlie Adam this season.
“He loves the big games, we saw that. He’ll relish playing in big games for Dundee.
“We’re looking forward to seeing that and I’m sure he’s desperate to be playing in the derbies and against Celtic and Rangers for the club he grew up supporting.”
Captain Adam eager to set benchmark in pre-season
Adam will turn 36 in December but will be going all out to ensure he is leading the way for the entire squad.
That’s despite being almost twice the age of the likes of youngster Fin Robertson.
But the Dens skipper is certain all the hard work done now will stand him in good stead throughout his 19th season as a senior professional.
“I need it,” he said.
“At 35 you need to get through the full pre-season.
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) June 23, 2021
“I’ve always believed getting through the whole pre-season gives you your fitness for the whole season and you just need to top up as you go.
“It’s important. I won’t be looking for any sympathy from the manager, I’ll be trying to be at the front and pushing these young lads forward.
“You have to set a benchmark for them because if they can see me doing it at 35 then it’s important they push themselves as well.”
Hard work is worth it for first game back in the Premiership
The former Scotland star’s tip for all his inexperienced team-mates is to focus solely on the opening day of the campaign.
The Dark Blues have the Premier Sports Cup group stage to contend with first of all, getting under way on July 13 at home to Brora Rangers.
Being back in the Premiership, though, is what really matters for all at Dens Park.
That kicks off on July 31 with St Mirren the visitors and Adam only has eyes for opening day.
“Once you get promoted you have a week off but then you’re looking ahead to the fixtures coming out, then they are out and you are looking ahead again,” he added.
“Then you get the dreaded text to say pre-season is starting back on the 21st!
🏆 Fixtures for the opening weekend of the @cinchuk Premiership!
Saturday sees @RangersFC lift the Premiership league flag at 1:30pm, before @JamTarts lift the Championship league flag at 8pm & @MotherwellFC and @HibernianFC finish the weekend on Sunday, all live on @SkySports! pic.twitter.com/1iI90Wq7sE
— SPFL (@spfl) June 15, 2021
“It is hard work but the game against St Mirren in the Premiership is what all this hard work is for.
“The club has been through a tough time on and off the pitch over the past 18 months with the pandemic.
“What the players did during that time, too, was incredible.
“The lads rallied round and our reward for all that is taking on St Mirren the first game of the season.”