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NEWS: How are Dundee’s Championship opponents shaping up as pre-season begins?


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Championship clubs are beginning to shake off the rust that has developed over the last five months, with pre-season starting up and down the country.

Dundee might not be getting their preparations started until next week but manager James McPake will be keeping a keen eye on his opposition in the new season.

With clubs returning to the training field, a number of new faces have arrived and old heads departed. So, as it stands, what do Dundee face next season?


Alloa

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Alloa manager Peter Grant

Manager: Peter Grant

Last season: 8th

IN: Nicky Jamieson (Queen’s Park), Ray Grant (Clyde)

OUT: Kevin O’Hara (Dunfermline), Iain Flannigan (retired), Chris Henry

The Wasps showed they weren’t afraid to play out from the back last season under Grant and are unlikely to change in 2020/21. The part-timers have lost a key midfielder in Flannigan and are short of bodies right now but always prove a tough test to overcome, especially on home turf.


Arbroath

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Bobby Linn of Arbroath at Tannadice last season.

Manager: Dick Campbell

Last season: 5th

IN: James Craigen (AFC Fylde), Kris Doolan (Morton), Scott Gallacher (Airdrieonians)

OUT: Darren Jamieson (Kelty Hearts), James Murphy (Rio Grande Valley FC Toros), Omar Kader (retired)

Wily manager Campbell’s Red Lichties were the surprise package of the Championship last term. They ended up fifth but will be disappointed they didn’t get a chance to make the playoffs last term. They’ve added a goalscorer in Doolan and it’d be foolish to bet against another good season for Arbroath.


Ayr United

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Ayr gaffer Mark Kerr

Manager: Mark Kerr

Last season: 4th

IN: Michael Miller (Raith), Patrick Reading (Stevenage), Tom Walsh (Inverness), Dario Zanatta (Partick)

OUT: Ross Docherty (Partick), Alan Forrest (Livingston), Andy Geggan (BSC Glasgow), Grant Gillespie (Queen’s Park), Daniel Harvie (MK Dons), Leon Murphy (Glenafton)

New manager Kerr heads into his first full season as a manager and has already put his mark on the squad. Losing key players like Forrest and Harvie may be tough to replace but Walsh and Zanatta are experienced Championship players with talent.


Dundee

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New Dundee striker Alex Jakubiak pictured at Dens Park after signing. Credit: David Young.

Manager: James McPake

Last season: 3rd

IN: Lee Ashcroft (Dunfermline), Danny Mullen (St Mirren), Alex Jakubiak (Watford)

OUT: Josh Meekings, Andrew Nelson (Torquay), Kane Hemmings (Burton)

The Dark Blues’ aim next term is promotion and, after a year in the job with this squad, manager McPake will have confidence going into the new campaign. Losing Hemmings was a blow but the three players incoming have good pedigree at this level. The expectation is to challenge for the title.


Dunfermline

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Former Scotland internationalist Steven Whittaker (left) has joined the Pars.

Manager: Stevie Crawford

Last season: 6th

IN: Owain Fon Williams (Hamilton), Declan McManus (Ross County), Kevin O’Hara (Alloa), Dom Thomas (Kilmarnock), Paul Watson (Dundee United), Steven Whittaker (Hibs), Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock)

OUT: Kevin Nisbet (Hibs), Lee Ashcroft (Dundee), Tom Beadling (Barrow), Danny Devine (Inverness), Stuart Morrison (Queen’s Park), Paul Paton (East Kilbride), Andy Ryan (Stirling Albion), Callum Smith (Hamilton), Joe Thomson (Derry City), Ryan Scully

Losing talisman Kevin Nisbet left a hole in the squad but his departure was expected. With that money, the Pars set about doing their transfer business quickly bringing in players with plenty experience. McManus and Watson are both Championship winners while 31-cap Whittaker’s knowhow could be invaluable.


Greenock Morton

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Morton Manager David Hopkin

Manager: David Hopkin

Last season: 7th

IN: Gary Oliver (Queen of the South), Rabin Omar (Elgin City)

OUT: Nicky Cadden (Forest Green), Kris Doolan (Arbroath), Bob McHugh (Queen’s Park), Reghan Tumilty (Raith), John Sutton

Having taken Livingston to the Premiership, Hopkin knows how to set a team up to excel in this division and after a year in charge at Cappielow, expect Ton to be very tough to beat.


Hearts

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Robbie Neilson at Tynecastle

Manager: Robbie Neilson

Last season: 12th in Premiership

IN: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Jordan Roberts (Ipswich), Ross Stewart (Livingston, loan)

OUT: Sean Clare (Oxford), Bobby Burns (Barrow), Clevid Dikamona (Kilmarnock), Uche Ikpeazu (Wycombe), Callumn Morrison (Falkirk), Conor Washington (Charlton), Colin Doyle (Kilmarnock, loan), Steven MacLean (retired), Oliver Bozanic, Marcel Langer

The Jambos were a mess last season and suffered the ultimate fate of relegation, even if it was forced upon them. Seen as favourites by many, new boss Neilson has wasted no time in getting his side onto the training field. They’ve lost talented players but a frontline of Steven Naismith, Liam Boyce, Jamie Walker and Craig Wighton will worry any defence.


Inverness CT

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John Robertson.

Manager: John Robertson

Last season: 2nd

IN: Scott Allardice (Waterford), Danny Devine (Dunfermline), Shane Sutherland (Elgin)

OUT: Daniel Hoban (Forfar), Shaun Rooney (St Johnstone), Charlie Trafford (Hamilton), Carl Tremarco (Ross County), Tom Walsh (Ayr), Jordan White (Motherwell)

Caley Thistle’s squad needs some rebuilding after losing key players in Tremarco, White and Trafford. The setup in the Highlands, however, has often been able to the loss of players and they’ll at least be a thorn in the side for teams at the top.


Queen of the South

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Dundee fans will be hoping Stephen Dobbie isn’t celebrating more goals against them next season.

Manager: Allan Johnston

Last season: 9th

IN: Gregor Buchanan (Falkirk), Joe McKee (Dumbarton), Rhys McCabe (Brechin), Connor Shields (Aldershot), Aidan Fitzpatrick (Norwich, loan)

OUt: Lewis Kidd (East Kilbride), Scott Mercer (Falkirk), Connor Murray (Partick), Gary Oliver (Morton), Darren Lyon, Abdul Osman, Michael Paton, Diemantas Petravicius, Callum Semple.

Another side on the rebuild after almost a complete clearout when coronavirus hit. The only players surviving were goalscorer supreme Stephen Dobbie, former Dee Kevin Holt, goalie Jack Leighfield and midfielder Dan Pybus. Expect more signings to come with cash in the bank at Palmerston thanks to Lyndon Dykes’ move to QPR.


Raith Rovers

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Raith boss John McGlynn.

Manager: John McGlynn

Last season: 1st in League One

Incomings: Jamie MacDonald (Kilmarnock), Frankie Musonda (Luton), Manny Duku (Hayes & Yeading), Gozie Ugwu (Ebbsfleet), Reghan Tumilty (Morton)

Outgoings: Kieron Bowie (Fulham), John Baird (Mandurah City), Michael Miller (Ayr), Lewis Allan, Tony Dingwall

Raith are back in the second tier after a frustrating few years in League One and McGlynn will be determined to stay there. Bringing in a quality goalkeeper in MacDonald is a strong start while plastic could be an advantage at Stark’s Park.

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