Dundee gaffer McPake backing Nathan Ralph to shine as defender signs for Southend United

Nathan Ralph takes on Andrew Stirling of Queen of the South last season.
Nathan Ralph takes on Andrew Stirling of Queen of the South last season.

Dundee boss James McPake has backed former Dark Blues left-back Nathan Ralph to shine down south after the defender signed a two-year deal with Southend United.

The former Woking man left Dens Park in the summer after sweeping up award after award at the club’s end-of-season Player of the Year night.

Following the club’s relegation, a clause in his contract allowed the 26-year-old to leave for free and he’s returned south, signing until 2021 with the option of a third year with Southend.

McPake, meanwhile, got to know the full-back during his year at Dens and says he expects big things from Ralph in England.

The Dens gaffer said: “Ralph was fantastic for Dundee.

“You could see at the Player of the Year night how many awards he won and I’d love him to go and do well down south because he’s one of the ones you hope do.

“I’m sure he will because he’s a quality footballer.”

The Dark Blues completed their pre- season schedule with a 1-0 victory over Blackpool on Tuesday night at Dens.

McPake set up his side with a three-man defence before switching to a four midway through the second half.

He said: “You’ve got to be adaptable, the players know that and the friendlies allow you to do that.

“I think we looked as comfortable in both formations.

“First half I thought we were a bit poorer on the ball but that wasn’t to do with the shape.

“We settled down in the second half and Finlay Robertson came on which helped that as well. He’s fantastic in that position.

“I’m happy we can do a bit of both – and quickly change, yesterday was an exercise to do that.”