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It’S So Far So Good For Dundee But Paul Hartley Wants More


JoeCovenant

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Paul Hartley is meeting with his Dundee squad this week to pick the bones of where they’re at now the first “quarter†of the Premiership campaign is over.

The manager has revealed there was a similar sit-down just before the season kicked off when targets for the first few months of competitive action were set.

He’s delighted to report they weren’t only hit but exceeded, though, in typical fashion, no one at Dens will be allowed to rest on their laurels.

“We’re in a good position. We are feeling good about ourselves and Saturday was the last game of the quarter,†he said.

“We’re a few points ahead of schedule over last year at this time,†said Paul.

“We always look at quarters, so I’ll sit down with the group and talk about where we are.

“And yes, we’re ahead of schedule but what we need to do and where we need to improve will also be looked at.

“At the start of the season, we sat down and talked about what we could do in the first quarter and now it’s about where we are.

“It’s about what we can achieve and how we are going to improve.â€

It can be taken as read that new targets will be set for the players for what’s referred to as the next quarter — the April split means it’s more than that.

They are likely to stay within the dressing-room until the halfway stage of the Premiership is reached, at least.

But, as much as he has a right to feel satisfied over the progress of what is again basically a new team, working out where he’ll want improvement is not rocket science.

SNS-11360443-Hamilton-v-Dundee.jpg-960x5

As Saturday’s draw at Hamilton showed, Dundee have an admirable knack of picking up points on a regular basis but they have also dropped points in games that should have been won.

Against Accies they were a goal up and were against 10 men for most of the second half but allowed themselves to be pinned back in the closing stages and conceded a late equaliser.

Back at the start of the season, there was even more frustration when the first home game, against Hearts, was lost despite them dominating almost every minute of the first half and creating a barrowload of chances.

On top of that, even though the derby fightback from two goals down and James McPake’s dramatic injury-time leveller made the draw with Dundee United at Tannadice feel like a victory, in many ways it was another two points dropped.

That was another fixture in which the Dark Blues enjoyed the better of the first half and, had chances been converted, it could have been a victory.

If misses in front of the opposition goal was the problem that night, with Greg Stewart, Rory Loy and Kane Hemmings all finding the net regularly, there is little reason for complaints about that area of the team.

Seventeen goals in 11 outings reflects that but 19 conceded means Dundee are the only outfit in the top six with a negative goal difference.

Hartley referred to that after the weekend draw when he admitted his men needed to add a “clean-sheet mentality†to their play.

That is an area that will be raised at this week’s meeting.

Without making excuses, injuries have not helped and at various times Julen Etxabeguren, Kosta Gadzhalov, Kevin Holt and James McPake have all been missing through injury.

And while there are areas where improvement can be made, as the manager says, Dundee are feeling good about themselves just now.

They have a right to.



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