By all accounts it has been a tricky first season back in the Championship for Dundee.
Their form has been up and down, rookie manager James McPake is having to learn on the job and things haven’t quite clicked for some of his new recruits.
All of this comes against a backdrop of expectation for the Dark Blues to be bouncing back to the Premiership at the first time of asking – or at least challenging rivals Dundee United right at the top of the second tier.
The Dee are currently fourth in the table, six points behind leaders United, in the promotion play-off places.
Given the circumstances aforementioned and the fact the club still bears the scars from one of the worst campaigns in living memory last term, that must be seen as a decent return for McPake’s Dundee.
A large part of their successes so far has been down to their home form.
Three wins and a draw make up 10 of their 12 points to date with wins over Ayr United, Alloa Athletic and Arbroath and a draw against Inverness counting.
After the international break this weekend, the Dark Blues will be back in on Monday ahead of Partick Thistle’s visit to Dens the following Saturday as they look to build on that good return.
Despite their impressive form at home, a poor away record has stopped the Dark Blues from stringing two wins together so far this season.
Their toils on the road have held them back from progressing further up the table but, with back-to-back home clashes, McPake’s men will hope to change that and put pressure on the top three with a win against Partick.
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That is something they’ve failed to do following the win over Ayr United with a draw against Inverness and the success against Alloa with defeat by Morton.
Backing up victories with such setbacks has only served to knock the Dark Blues’ confidence.
It is a pattern they can do without repeating too often but Ian McCall’s Jags won’t make it easy for them next time out.
Since taking charge at Firhill the former Ayr United gaffer got something of a reaction from his players with an impressive 3-1 win away at high-flying Inverness before a narrow 1-0 loss to Queen of the South at the weekend.
On a positive note, a repeat performance from Saturday’s brace hero Declan McDaid against his former club could go a long way to sealing the three points.
The ex-Ayr winger was excellent for Dundee in the win over Arbroath and one of few good performers against Queen of the South and Morton in recent weeks.
While he and other new boys like Jordan Marshall and Shaun Byrne have taken a while to show their best form and others like Jordan McGhee and Graham Dorrans have provided instant class, the Dark Blues could do with a few more new faces finally clicking into gear if they are to kick on from here.
Kane Hemmings has struggled for goals since his marquee move back to Dens in the summer, while Josh Todd and Sean Mackie are yet to show their best form.
They are no doubt a work in progress but, given where they were at this time last season, Dundee are in decent shape under McPake.
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The squad, despite operating a level below, is stronger in terms of both quality and depth and fans are even starting to leave Dens with a smile on their faces come Saturday at 5pm.
Dundee only managed one home league win last season so with three under their belt already this season that is a marked improvement.
The pressure of winning two on the spin is a monkey on Dundee’s back but one they seem ready to shake off.