Dundee looking good – but McPake needs a man to lead the line

© SuppliedDundee's Paul McGowan in action against Brechin.
Dundee's Paul McGowan in action against Brechin.

After getting a good close view of Dundee in their pre-season trip to Spain last week, I have to say, I like the look of the Dark Blues this season under James McPake.

The results might not have been perfect but the score in friendlies is nowhere near the most important thing.

What’s key is the players get their fitness but, more importantly, you can start to see a gameplan in their play. And it is obvious there is a clear plan in place for the Dark Blues from the coaching staff.

What they are short of, however, is a man to lead the line.

Time after time in the 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest and the 2-1 loss to Scunthorpe, excellent approach play came to nothing when they got in and around the opposition area.

The manager has stated he’s looking for two strikers to come in but, as we head into the opening Betfred Cup game at Raith Rovers, his options are Andrew Nelson and Craig Curran.

If they can get the Nelson that exploded on to the scene in the second half of last season then they won’t have a problem – he hadn’t shown much in pre-season but, hopefully, last night’s goal sets him going again.

Curran, meanwhile, has impressed everyone at Dens Park in training over the past couple of weeks with his work-rate and attitude.

What they really need from him, though, is goals.

He’s yet to get off the mark for the Dark Blues since crossing Tannadice Street in the winter.

And, as much as he puts in plenty of work around the pitch, that’s where strikers are ultimately judged.

As for the other new boys, Declan McDaid promises to be a fans favourite come the end of the campaign with his direct and pacey running.

Jamie Ness is a bit behind the rest in terms of pre-season but has shown glimpses of the ability that had Premier League Stoke snap him up after leaving Rangers in 2012.

Defensively, the three new boys have looked good – Jordon Forster is a whole-hearted kind of defender, Jordan Marshall is a workaholic at left-back and Jordan McGhee has shown he can play, too.

The big positive coming out of the pre-season friendlies is Paul McGowan.

He looks like a new signing and absolutely bossed every friendly last week, enough that Forest players and fans alike were asking who Dundee’s brilliant No 10 was.

The real Gowser is back – the Championship better watch out.