Dundee boss James McPake wants to see more from his forward players as the Dark Blues look for an end to their losing run at Arbroath this weekend.
Chances have been hard to come by for the Dens Park side in defeats to Dundee United, Inverness and Queen of the South with Danny Johnson’s stoppage-time goal their only strike since a win against Morton over a month ago.
Boss James wants to see more opportunities created for his strikers but has also called for more from Kane Hemmings, Andrew Nelson and Johnson.
So far this season, Danny Johson leads the scoring charts with six goals in 15 matches, while both Hemmings and Nelson have four in 17 appearances.
The Dens gaffer said: “Danny’s goal against Queens was a really good one.
“It was on his wrong foot and he’s scored another one after three minutes for the reserves.
“We know what he gives us. Can we get more from him and get him to take the ball in and get us up the pitch?
“He’s working really hard on that. Neller is the same.
“It’s not all about goals. The three strikers all have different qualities but there are goals in all three and we need to create the chances for them.”
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He added: “That’s an underlying thing to come out of the last few games.
“We’ve not been creating the same amount of chances.
“We’ve gone from being a very dangerous looking team to the one that we’re seeing now. Stats don’t tell you everything but they don’t lie.
“We’ve not troubled goalkeepers enough. Our keeper was troubled more than theirs on Saturday which shouldn’t really be happening.
“Teams will look to nullify our threats, particularly at Dens but we’ve got plenty of players who can trouble teams.”
This weekend Dundee face an Arbroath side that have surprised a few this campaign, picking up 20 points from their opening 14 matches as they returned to the second tier after winning League One last term.
James knows his team will have nothing given to him by Dick Campbell’s side but is backing them to put on an improved showing.
“I’ve still got the belief and I think that deep down the players do as well,” he added.
“We’ve got to be brave because at the weekend there will be 11 guys looking forward to playing against us and looking at the game thinking ‘this is a good time to play Dundee’.
“It’s our job to get the confidence back up.”
The Dark Blues expect to have Nelson and Josh Meekings back available this weekend.
Hopes on the availability of left-back Jordan Marshall, however, are lower as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem.
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The Dens boss said: “Nelson is a positive one. His foot got injected at the back end of last week and he can run now.
“It’s a case of when it’s settled enough to let him kick the ball.
“Hopefully, he’ll be available at the weekend and the same goes for Meeks.”
On Marshall, however, he added: “Because it’s a hamstring we’re still slightly concerned.
“Everything is crossed that he can build up to the high speed stuff in training.
“He seems positive and you hope there’s no reaction.”
Jamie Ness limped off on Saturday and a calf injury will keep him out for the weekend, though, the damage isn’t as bad as first feared.
Paul McGowan, meanwhile, will be ready to return after his young child took ill late last week.
“The baby is home,” James added. “Everybody at the club is glad about that and, hopefully, the wee one continues to recover.”