Greg Stewart will be a hit in England - James McPake

Greg Stewart has been heavily linked with a move away from Dundee. Picture: SNS
Greg Stewart has been heavily linked with a move away from Dundee. Picture: SNS
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Dundee skipper James McPake is not sure whether Greg Stewart will be prised away from Dens Park now or at the end of the season - but is convinced he will be a success wherever he ends up.

According to reports, the Dark Blues on Sunday knocked back a £300,000 bid from English Championship outfit Birmingham for the 26-year-old frontman.

Rangers have also been linked with the former Cowdenbeath striker, whose contract expires in a year’s time, and it appears he could be heading away from Tayside.

McPake would love to see boss Paul Hartley cling on to his prized-asset, especially after seeing Oxford United succeed with a surprise swoop for last season’s top scorer Kane Hemmings.

But the former Coventry defender knows eventually there will be a parting of the ways after admitting Stewart is destined for bigger things.

He said: “I’ve played in the league which is being spoken about and Greg will handle that no problem.

“He’s a very intelligent footballer and no matter where he goes he will not be out of place.

“I felt as soon as I saw him he would be destined to move on to a very high level. Do I want it to happen now? No, I want him to be part of our team for the rest of the season.

“But whatever does happen he’ll go on and have a very good career.”

Hemmings hit 25 goals last year for Hartley’s team but Dundee were forced to let him return to England after Oxford triggered a release clause in the 24-year-old’s contract last week.

But ex-Hibs captain McPake is optimistic his current side will adapt following that departure.

“There’s no doubt Kano is a big loss because he was more than just a goalscorer - he was a proper striker,” said McPake.

“I remember when I was at Hibs and Leigh Griffiths left, we were left without any real strikers. But it’s different at Dundee. We’ve got other players that can step in and make a mark.”

McPake is still battling back from the sickening knee injury he sustained in January’s Dundee derby.

He was originally pencilled in for an August comeback but complications have pushed his return to action back until December at the earliest.

But McPake insists he is moving forward and is looking forward to pulling on his boots once more - even though he currently does not own a pair.

Speaking at the season launch with the 12 Ladbrokes Premiership captains, McPake - who has also joined Hartley’s back-room staff as a coach - said: “It maybe doesn’t look like it but it’s progressing. The recovery is taking a bit longer than expected but it’s getting better.

“If you could guarantee me that I’d be playing by round about Christmas I’d take that right now. That’s the plan but I will know more this week after I meet the surgeon.

“The mental side of it has probably been the hardest part to deal with. It’s coming up eight months now. It’s a long time to still be in a brace and still be limping about.

“I wanted to be back running about and getting involved and that’s not the case. But I just have to get on with it and help in other ways that I can around the club and that’s what I’ve been trying to do with the coaching.

“Days like today just fire up my determination to get back. It also makes me think about getting a pair of boots.

“We had the team photo taken the other day and I never even had a pair of boots. I had to borrow someone else’s for this thing today.

“It’s about time I started trying to be a footballer again. I’m glad to be back in the changing room now but it won’t be right until I’m pulling the kit on for real.”

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