Five things for Utd fans to be positive about for new season

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Three years on and counting, Dundee United are determined to make this coming season the one that finally sees them return to the top flight.

It’s been 1,125 days, 154 matches and a seemingly endless conveyor belt of players in and out of the club since the Tangerines last tasted Premiership action.

Robbie Neilson’s men head into season 2019/20 as one of the favourites to lift the Championship title.

So what are the main reasons United fans can be positive about ahead of the new campaign – and what might help them finally get their wish of promotion?

Stability

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Robbie has had half a season now to bed in the players he brought in during the winter window

For the first time since their relegation three years ago, United are going through an extended period of comparative calm behind the scenes.

When the club first went down, vast cost-cutting saw new manager Ray McKinnon’s budget slashed by chairman Stephen Thompson to avoid running up massive debts for the club.

A play-off final defeat to Hamilton and then a poor start to the next campaign saw McKinnon leave to be replaced by Csaba Laszlo.

The former Hearts coach reshaped the team but also failed to get them up and, after Thompson handed the club over to new chairman Mike Martin, also departed in late autumn.

In came current boss Robbie and once more came a raft of changes to the playing squad in January after the arrival of new owner Mark Ogren.

Despite missing out on promotion in the play-offs again, positive signs are that finally stability behind the scenes and across the playing squad should help things on the pitch.

Robbie has had half a season now to bed in the players he brought in during the winter window and get his plans across – starting a campaign without a whole raft of fresh faces and without doubts over the manager is a platform that United can use to get off to the best possible start.

Paul McMullan

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Paul McMullan.

After almost leaving the club at the start of last campaign, Paul McMullan emerged as one of the stars of the division as United neared the end of the season.

Seven goals across the term – including a spurt of four in five games between April and May – is a tally he can easily top in the season ahead.

His creativity and sheer pace will be a real asset for the Tangerines in their bid to be top dogs in 2019/20.

Mark Reynolds

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Dundee Utd Mark Reynolds.

As his match fitness increased through the season, the more it was clear Mark Reynolds belonged in the top flight.

He’ll have to wait another year for that but United’s benefit will be a fully fit, very experienced central defender who can lead the club to the success they so badly crave.

Squad depth

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Dundee United owner and chairman Mark Ogren.

The financial reality of most clubs who compete in Scotland’s second tier usually forces them to keep squad sizes fairly trim.

However, the backing United have had from American Ogren means they don’t have that same worry.

Though the squad at the moment could do with trimming here and there, the talent Robbie will have to call on from his bench throughout the season could prove the difference when it matters in big games.

Ambition of owners

Tied to squad depth is the ability provided by the finances of Ogren to go out and purchase the talent that is normally beyond teams at this level.

That, combined with the sting of failure to go up last season, could well see the Tangerines step out into the transfer market and make a real statement of intent by bringing in a big name.

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