McPake says he is building Dundee side for Premiership, not Championship

James McPake.
James McPake.

James McPake says he is building a team to compete in the Premiership, not just the Championship.

Today the Dens gaffer leads the Dark Blues as permanent manager for the first time as they travel to face Brechin City.

And fans will get the chance to see some of the new signings in action for the first time at Glebe Park.

For McPake, though, the work isn’t done rebuilding for the new campaign.

He said: “We are trying to build a team, where, when we get promoted to the Premiership, that can stay there and we don’t need to chop and change.

“What we want is a team that, with a couple of additions, can compete in the Premiership and be sustainable there.

“That’s the target and we are bringing people in we think can help us on our journey.”

Two players expected to make their first run-outs in dark blue are former Falkirk defender Jordan McGhee and ex-Queen of the South left-back Jordan Marshall.

On the latter, McPake said: “I’ve seen a lot of him.

“We went through the process, which we have with everyone, nothing was rushed and it’s about getting the right ones in.

“Jordan certainly fits that bill.

“For a young guy he’s played a lot of football in the league we are going into and he’s had a lot of interest from a lot of teams.

“We did our homework and everything came back positive. Now it comes down to whether he can play and we believe he can.”

McGhee comes in with a reputation as a bit of a utility player but McPake is adamant he expects the 22-year-old to nail down a position, though he wasn’t about to let slip which position that would be.

That’s because the manager’s team decisions will come down to recent form and nothing else.

The Dens gaffer added: “He can play everywhere across the back but he’s not coming in as a utility player – he’s coming in to make a position his own.

“He’s an ambitious boy. He almost moved to Ipswich a couple of times but it didn’t happen at Hearts and he has fought his way back from knockbacks.

“He’s as ambitious as they come and he wants to play in the Premiership with Dundee and make a position on that pitch his own.

“He is the type of character I want.

“If he is on the pitch and he’s making the shirt his own, then he stays there no matter the position.

“That might sound like I’m contradicting myself but I won’t say he’ll play right-back, left-back or centre-back because I don’t know who’s going to play where.

“It depends on how they are performing and that goes from the young lads to Paul McGowan.

“I’ve no fear leaving players out, we’ll pick, as a staff, an 11 to win a game.

“There will be no favours given – it’s up to who is performing in training and in games.”

New boys Jamie Ness, Shaun Byrne, Declan McDaid and Josh Todd are also expected to get their first run-out today after signing earlier this month.

A selection of youth-team players will also get a look-in against Barry Smith’s Brechin.