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Dundee Boss Hartley Made To Wait On Mcpake


JoeCovenant

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Dundee defender James McPake is touch and go for a place in Paul Hartley’s starting XI.
The former Northern Ireland international took a facial knock in the 3-3 draw with Ross County at the weekend.

And although initial diagnosis by the Dark Blues club doctor revealed no damage to his jaw, the centre-back is still feeling a level of discomfort in the area. As a result, the manager says everything is still up in the air as to whether he will be able to take his place in the heart of defence against managerless Motherwell at Dens Park on Saturday.

McPake came off after 73 minutes of last weekend’s Staggies draw with the problem. The loss of McPake would represent a huge blow for Paul but he does have a ready-made replacement in Thomas Konrad who can step in.

Konrad, who replaced McPake last week, has a point to prove having lost his place in the starting line-up in the aftermath of the 6-0 hammering by last season’s Premiership champions Celtic. And were McPake to be missing, he is the most likely candidate to slot in at centre-back alongside Spaniard Julen Etxabeguren.

While news is awaited on the 31-year-old experienced defender, the injury status of two of the Dark Blues’ key midfielders makes not so good reading for the gaffer. Nicky Low and Paul McGowan are both out of the weekend clash.

Low, who has developed into a crucial part of Dundee’s midfield when he has been available, has been absent from first-team duties since the Hoops loss. The left-footed former Aberdeen and Alloa man left Parkhead two weeks ago with an illness and, as of yet, has been unable to take his place in training with the bulk of the main squad.

His further absence is a blow for Low, in particular, who was just beginning to find his feet after a free-transfer summer switch from Pittodrie.
 

McGowan, who has been a little more in and out this campaign, remains sidelined with an ankle problem which has dogged him for weeks.
The 27-year-old is yet to make his mark this season having missed much of pre-season due to the terms of a curfew, handed down by the courts for his third conviction for police assault.

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