Dundee boss James McPake unfazed despite speculation on Graham Dorrans’ future

Graham Dorrans celebrates his equaliser in Dundee's derby draw with Dundee United in December. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Graham Dorrans celebrates his equaliser in Dundee's derby draw with Dundee United in December. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Dundee manager James McPake insists he has no concerns over losing playmaker Graham Dorrans this month.

The Dens Park side can draw level with Ladbrokes Championship rivals Inverness Caley Thistle in second this weekend if they beat John Robertson’s team at home.

But the Dark Blues faithful have been left concerned after seeing reports claiming MK Dons boss Russell Martin is tracking his former Rangers team-mate Dorrans.

However, McPake is confident the 32-year-old is going nowhere. He said: “Everybody has got an option to leave, genuinely. Everybody has got a price in football.

“Every manager during this window will be worried their top performers are attracting attention from other clubs.

“But am I concerned? No, I have not had a conversation with Graham regarding it, I don’t need to.

“He’s been training very well again this week. He’s at a level where he wants to be, consistently playing 90 minutes.

“So I am not surprised [at the speculation]. I think over the coming month there will be a lot of talk in the press regarding Graham, as there will be other players in this league and this city in particular.”

McPake, looking to build on last week’s derby draw at Tannadice, added: “Saturday is big. We need to be higher up the league to be more consistent with our performances.

“But that’s the aim now. Get level with Inverness on Saturday and take it from there.

“We know a decent side are coming down and will be fired up after losing to Arbroath last weekend.”

League leaders Dundee United will be looking to maintain their 14-point advantage at the top when they 
travel to Queen of the South, but they have already lost at Palmerston this season.

The Doonhamers are looking for their third win on the bounce and star striker
Stephen Dobbie, pictured inset, said: “This should be a cracking game. They are flying high and we want to continue our good run of form and secure our third consecutive win.

“Dundee United will definitely win the league as they have the strongest squad, have been on a good run and are miles ahead. But if we can get another three points, we are closing in on a top-four place.

“We have beaten them at Palmerston 4-0 already this season. The first goal in a Championship game is crucial
and if you can get it and then add a second you have a great chance to win. That is what happened that day and I hope that it happens again.”

Dobbie isn’t the only one who believes United have got the title wrapped up but the runaway leaders’ manager, Robbie Neilson, is not getting carried away. “We did well in the first half of the season but nothing has been achieved yet,” he said. “In football you can be going well and then struggling a 
couple of results later.”

Dunfermline could hand a debut to loan signing Ethan Ross from Aberdeen as they look to leapfrog Ayr and move back into the play-off places with a win over the Honest Men at East End Park. Midfielder Ross, 18, has moved from Pittodrie on a deal that runs to the end of the season.

Arbroath are two places and six points better off than 
Morton but, according to assistant boss Ian Campbell, the Red Lichties cannot forget they are massive underdogs.

“Some people have suggested we are the favourites to 
beat Morton but we are not getting taken in by that,” said Campbell. “We are still the underdogs and that will be the case all season.”

Victory for third-bottom Partick Thistle away to basement boys Alloa would see Ian McCall’s team put further ground between them and the automatic relegation spot.

The Wasps have several injury worries but manager Peter Grant said: “We were low on numbers at Dunfermline last weekend and we won. We can do so again in this one.”