Premiership managers are plotting their players’ return to training.
But Dundee boss James McPake is still wondering when he’ll get the chance to lay out his Dark Blueprint.
Amid continuing uncertainty over when the Championship will get started – and what form it will take – a provisional agreement has reportedly been reached between second-tier clubs to kick off a truncated 27-game season on October 17.
The prospect of a 19-week wait until competitive football begins is far from ideal.
But McPake reckons Championship clubs are becoming so desperate for a speck of light at the end of the tunnel that even an October start date will be gratefully received.
He said: “I have heard bits and pieces but the problem, certainly for me, is that it is not definitive, it is a guide.
“That’s why I am finding it tough and why every other manager, player and staff member in football is probably the same.
“I am very cautious when I say how unsettling or how bad that is for us as there is a hell of a lot more going on in everyday life that means more than football.
“But if that date (October 17) is when we are starting then that will be a bonus for us. It will be a massive plus that we have something to work to.
“Every manager will probably tell you the same – we need a date for when we are going to go back.
“But as I said, I am cautious because there is an awful lot going on at the moment, from where you can take your kids to when you can go and meet other people.
“Everything is changing and I don’t think football will be any different.”
Reconstruction plans have now been run up the flagpole and ripped back down again more than once.
Consensus, as is so often the case in Scottish football, has proved impossible to reach.
Meanwhile clubs like Dundee, whose business model means they sit uncomfortably in the Championship, have been left in limbo.
It has affected everyone at the club – and their manager is growing tired of the uncertainty.
However, McPake is conscious of the wider issues in today’s world, and his annoyance is tempered by realism.
He said: “There is frustration but for me that can’t be put on anyone.
“There is a frustration in every industry about where we find ourselves.
“We have never been in a situation like this before and what that brings is a real level of uncertainty.
“We are looking for answers every day. I would be very reluctant to blame that on a single person or organisation as you can see it right across the world at the minute. But yes, it is frustrating.
“If you are looking at it purely from a footballing point of view it is really difficult for the players, for the backroom staff and for the fans.
“But again there is a bigger picture here in terms of a health crisis.
“We have to be guided by the government and the governing bodies in football but it has not been easy.
“Everybody is in the same boat really and there are no real answers to what is happening and when we can get back to what is perceived as normal.
“It is difficult – there is no other way of putting it.”
For as long as the Championship remains without a definitive restart date, many elements of Dundee’s normal business operations will remain on hold. On the football side, that means recruitment and day-to-day work with players.
They are crucial to any club’s success.
But McPake insists he – and everybody else at Dens Park who is not furloughed – is doing everything he can to ensure as seamless a return to action as possible.
“I speak to John (Nelms) a couple of times a week or maybe more but nothing has really changed,” he said. “We are where we are and there is no definitive date to when we can start back. It is not like a normal summer or break in the season like a winter one or international break.
“There is always a structure to football and when you are back. The players, staff, everybody knows that but at the moment that has completely gone.
“It is everyone’s longest lay-off – we are now getting to the stage where the players have been off the same amount of time if they had a serious injury so that brings its problems physically and mentally.
“It is just about trying to get everything right so that when we do get the green light to start back we are in as good a position as possible.”