It is a pre-season like no other but there are some concerns forming for me over Dundee United ahead of the Premiership kick-off next weekend.
I don’t like being negative about the Tangerines – or Dundee, for that matter – in this column and I don’t want to be too harsh on the players that did so well last season.
But there is a sizeable gap in quality levels between the Championship and the Premiership.
We saw that last season when the Tangerines took on Hibs and in almost every season in the Premiership play-off final where the lower division team has only emerged as the winner on a couple of occasions.
To bridge that gap and perform the way they want to in their first season back in the top flight, Dundee United need to add new faces.
That is clear to me.
Go through the squad and there aren’t too many in there who have been there and done it in the top flight.
And there are definitely question marks over a number of players about whether they can make the step up.
New manager Micky Mellon is obviously taking his time to get the measure of the players at his disposal before jumping into signings.
With the way things are for a lot of teams, it might not be the easiest market. So, if he’s only bringing in two or three new players, they have to work. Fair enough, take time to get it right but he needs to add some quality to the squad.
Whether or not that happens, there are a number of players in the squad who will need to step up and play their part in the new season.
As I said before, there are question marks across the squad but I also feel players like Jamie Robson and Liam Smith are types who could flourish in the top flight and excel.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Louis Appere does with the step up in quality, too.
You’ve also got players like Mark Reynolds and Nicky Clark who obviously have quality but are maybe the wrong side of 30.
You need to find the right balance and, looking at the squad, it just feels a bit off right now.
There have been a few niggles in pre-season to key players – keeping them fit will be massive because clearly to be successful, United will need Lawrence Shankland, Calum Butcher and Benjamin Siegrist to be fit and firing, no doubt.
There is a lot to be positive about the squad at Tannadice after last season but I can’t help but think they will struggle in the top flight without some help.
It was a surprise to see Andrew Nelson leave Dundee on Friday.
I don’t know the story behind his departure but he’s the type of player I think needs the stability of being at one club for a few years.
And I would have liked to have seen that happen for him at Dens Park.
Because it is a gamble for a player his age to go looking for a new club.
Nelson would no doubt have plenty of chances in James McPake’s first team next season.
With finances at the club the way they are, bringing in lots of new players is unlikely.
I’d expect the squad next campaign to be a tight one and that spells opportunity for a player like Nelson.
The way he started out at Dundee with some big goals in the Premiership, there was a chance to be a success at the Dark Blues.
It’s a shame the way it’s all ended for him and the club with the overall situation right now but I guess he feels like it was time to move on.
A chance missed for both.
The arbritration looking at Hearts and Partick Thistle’s relegation has begun and obviously may have an impact on Dundee United.
All this should have been done and dusted, though – the new season kicks off in 11 days!
It’s sad that it has come to this and clubs need to be defending themselves against other clubs.
If there was proper leadership from the SPFL and they took control of things from the start we wouldn’t need this.
After watching the FA Cup semi-finals at the weekend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big decision to make at Man U.
Following another big blunder, can he afford to stick with David De Gea or drop him tomorrow?