Joel Sked breaks down the season thus far for every team in our series of Ladbrokes Premiership mid-term report cards.
Since the arrival of Marcus Haber in October, Dundee have the fourth best record in the league. Very few fans would have seen the Canadian forward as the answer to the club’s problems. While he hasn’t solved all the issues at Dens Park, he has helped alleviate some of the pressure around the club with commanding performances as the lead striker. Coming from 2-0 down to defeat Hearts before seeing off Tayside rivals St Johnstone 3-0 sees the Dees go into the winter break on a high.
Following the opening day win over Ross County, Dundee claimed only three draws from the next 10 games. Paul Hartley’s recruitment has been poor, unable to replace either Kane Hemmings or Greg Stewart. They lack sufficient creativity and there is little danger from wide which can lead to the side being listless in attack. For the fans there are few players to look forward to watching. There was also a disastrous Betfred Cup campaign, failing to qualify from a group against the might of East Fife, Dumbarton, Peterhead and Forfar Athletic.
Marcus Haber, for reasons mentioned above. He has given Dundee a reference in attack. Quick running in behind and a threat in the air, he’s joint top goalscorer despite being at the club for a little over two months, and he brings so much more to the team than goals.
All areas of the park need improvement. The January transfer window may be crucial for Hartley’s wheeling and dealing if Dundee are to pull away from the relegation battle.
Dundee have had to try and replace the twin-threat of Stewart and Hemmings, an onerous task no matter the side. They haven’t been able to do so but have kept their head above water in a competitive fight at the bottom of the table, while top six isn’t out of the question. Hartley has had to find new ways to win.