James McPake has backed Osman Sow to keep the goals flowing in a Dundee shirt saying he’s “as fit as he has been for years”.
And the Dens boss insists the Swede is showing the kind of form that earned a £1 million move from Hearts in 2016.
Since returning to the UK from Chinese club Henan Jianye, Sow had struggled with injuries at both MK Dons and Dundee United.
The striker played just 16 times in 18 months at Tannadice before his time with the Tangerines ended last year thanks to a lengthy Achilles lay-off.
McPake admits fitness was a concern when assessing whether to offer Sow a contract at the start of this season with the club putting a pay-as-you-play deal on the table.
The 30-year-old, however, has shot to the top of the scoring charts at Dens Park in recent weeks with eight goals in his last seven matches.
Back in his Tynecastle days, Sow struck 11 times in the Premiership to prompt his China move after scoring 12 as Hearts won the Championship the previous season.
And the Dundee gaffer is delighted to see his frontman looking like his old self.
McPake said: “Osman Sow had been struggling last week. He probably would have made the game (against Dunfermline) but it wouldn’t have been ideal.
“He’s been training fine since.
“He’s been really good in terms of fitness since he’s been here, that’ll maybe surprise people given his history.
“But we’ve got him to a level where his conditioning and his fitness stats are right up there among the best in the squad.
“There are some players you have to manage sometimes a bit differently. You have guys like him, Charlie Adam and Paul McGowan or Liam Fontaine where you might take them out of certain things.
“We are only training on astroturf at the moment because of the weather so there are different factors you have to consider.
“But there’s been no worries about Osman’s fitness at all since he arrived. When he came in on trial that was something we wanted to check on, and I hate calling it a trial for someone as good as Osman.
“He’s in a very good place fitness-wise and probably as fit as he has been for years. You can see that in games and in training.
“It really is a credit to him and he is enjoying his football.
Os is a really good character to have around the place and we have been really impressed with him. Since the day he walked in the door he’s been fantastic.
“To begin with it was about getting him to 45 minutes, then to 60 and to 90 – against Bonnyrigg in the cup he managed 120. Mentally for him, I’m sure that would have ticked a box in his head.
“He’s one of the hardest working players in our squad and he’s looking like the Osman Sow that did so well for Hearts.
“Touch wood he can keep that up.”
Sow hasn’t been able to add to his tally recently with Dundee’s last three matches all called off due to the wintry weather.
Saturday’s clash at Dunfermline was the latest to fall due to snow on the East End Park pitch.
McPake says it’s been tough to prepare for all eventualities but is keen to get his team back in action this coming weekend at home to Queen of the South.
“We knew the Dunfermline game was off early enough so we gave the players a tough session on Friday, much tougher than we normally would a day before a game,” he added.
“It has been a challenging time for everyone at the club. We prep the team for a game at the weekend and a lot more work than people realise goes into that but then the game is off…
“Then you do it again and the game is off. Even for the likes of the Ayr game, it might be the same opponent but plans change, players get niggles and you do everything differently.
“It has been tough.
“On the flipside we’ve been able to top up the new players and get more time into Liam Fontaine after his injury. That’s been a real benefit for us.
“We were really looking forward to the Dunfermline game but you can’t control the weather.
“The forecast is looking more favourable this week so fingers crossed.
“We’ve already started prepping for a tough game this weekend against a Queen of the South team that are playing well.”