Gary Harkins triggers contract extension at Dundee

Gary Harkins: In top form. Picture: SNS
Gary Harkins: In top form. Picture: SNS
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Dundee skipper Gary Harkins has pledged his future to the club for next season.

Harkins has triggered a clause in his contract which he signed on returning to Dens Park in the summer of 2014 to entitle him to an extension.

The 31-year-old, who has been in top form for the Dark Blues as they sit joint fourth top of the table, signed a two-year deal to signal a third stint on Tayside two years ago and is now preparing to stay beyond that.

Manager Paul Hartley said: “Harkins will be here next year. He’s triggered his contract, so he’s played the amount of games that was required. We’re delighted because he’s playing at the top of his form just now and he’s very happy too.

“This is as good as I’ve seen him and he’s clearly enjoying it. He really likes being at this club. He’s at that age now where he’s got the responsibility both on and off the pitch.

“He’s taken that captain’s armband and is leading by example. I think it has given him the extra responsibility which he’s thriving on.

“Other people are feeding off him, so Gary has a major part to play for us this season.”

Hartley, whose side travel to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock tomorrow, plans to nail down the majority of his players over the coming weeks. He added: “We’re hoping Paul McGowan will be here, too, along with most of the other guys.

“We want to try and build the squad. We don’t want to decimate it. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do over the past couple of years.

“We’ll sit down with the majority of the players for the next couple of weeks. Our focus is obviously on trying to get as many points as possible in the league, but players who are out of contract need to be spoken to.

“Without a doubt, there will be much fewer changes than we’ve experienced in the past couple of years. There will probably be three or four arrivals at the most. We’ve had a word with a couple of players but that’s as far as it’s gone.

“I don’t think you can make rash decisions without knowing where you are and it depends on league positions as well, in terms of finances.”

Dundee face Killie who’ll be under the leadership of new gaffer Lee Clark for the first time following his appointment earlier this week.

Hartley added: “They will get a lift from the new manager.

“They played well on Tuesday night against Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

“All new teams usually get a lift from a new manager coming in. We see that being the case on Saturday.

“I actually spoke to Lee (Clark) last summer. He was trying to take Blackpool to Budapest and he phoned me up to see what the camp was like.

“We had a good chat and I wished him all the best earlier in the week when he got the job. I’m looking forward to meeting up with him again.”