I started writing much of this moments before we announced the return of Cammy Smith so I’ve had to re-think my opening moan about the lack of transfer activity!
Despite Smith’s arrival it has to be said that month of January does not sit well with most United fans and in recent seasons it has seen us falter both in the transfer market and on the pitch. Natural then that supporters are feeling a bit jittery when it comes to news about potential transfers during such a crucial time. I’m not as overly worried but that is more based on the belief that we have the right man in charge and we will get the business done. I think that Neilson is strong and measured in his approach and that should stand us in good stead.
Apart from Cammy Smith the club made further announcements yesterday. Two of those were big in terms of operational changes and one is the clarification that new owner Mark Ogren will indeed be in Dundee within the next few days and he will meet the media on Tuesday. The new owner will also meet with fans groups on Monday evening but this is not an open Q&A which in my opinion is a bit dissapoitning as not all fans groups have been invited to the meeting.
Sitting alongside Ogren on Tuesday (but not on Monday) will be the club’s new Sporting Director Tony Asghar and our new Managing Director Malachy Brannigan. Although we had already heard about Asghar we had no knowledge that the club were looking at someone like Brannigan, who has held similar posts at a number of clubs including Dundalk FC and Sheffield United. It has been clarified already that he will run the business side of the club. It may also mean that players begin to arrive more quickly as Asghar’s position has now been confirmed.
With signings in mind it has to be remembered that these things take time. In terms of shipping players out it, on paper, sounds simple but you never know how difficult the negotiations are or how much the club are trying to drive their release figure down. Some players (especially those on longer contracts) will be fully aware that getting a regular and secure salary won’t be easy to come by so they will just sit tight and take their salary. At the end of the day it was the club who issued these contracts so they need to take much of the blame.
As for bringing people in then better targets will be more in demand and again you are reliant on the club or the agent. United will have made up their mind but we then need to wait on others. If you look at the Cammy Smith transfer then there is probably a likelihood that once clubs found out he was available then he would have had more than just United offering him something. Then St.Mirren realise they have a player who is wanted so might (rightly so) ask for a fee. Some clubs show that they can sign players in a matter of hours but they could be accused of taking a massive gamble on untested or high risk players.
If we still get another two or three quality players coming in then if it takes a couple of weeks then so be it. Once we get the Dunfermline game out the way (and hopefully with three points) then we have a fortnight of a break in terms of league duty.
Looking at the match tomorrow we managed to beat Dunfermline comfortably with the same squad jut a few weeks ago. We were also on the end of a hiding on the opening day of the season but the team have shown that they have the quality to beat the Pars on their day and if we get that win then we have a mini-break in league duty which buys us some time and the club have a chance to work on things before we face Ayr away in our next league fixture.
We need to start winning games and our home form continues to frustrate. Only a few weeks ago we were looking like a much stronger and quicker side with great intent compared to these last few games.
Possible Starting Lineup vs Dunfermline –
GK – Benji Siegrist
RB – Stewart Murdoch
CB – Frederic Frans
CB – Rachid Bouhenna
LB – Callum Booth
CM – Fraser Fyvie
CM – Sam Stanton
RM – Paul McMullan
CAM – Cammy Smith
LM – Aidan Nesbitt
ST – Pavol Safranko
Others – It might be that Smith and Nesbitt aren’t yet ready to make a start but both have been training and Smith has been involved with St.Mirren this season so should be fit and ready to go. I would give them both the chance to show us what they can do and it would also be a kick up the backside to those that Neilson knows haven’t been showing us enough in recent weeks. Having Aird and others on the bench would allow us to make changes late on if we need to.
Key Player(s) – Everyone. We need a good team performance and we need the players to begin to show the form they did under Neilson when he first arrived.
For individuals you would look to Aidan Nesbitt to make his first start and hopefully show us all what we think he can capable of. He could be the spark that lifts this team and with Cammy Smith now also at the club it gives us more firepower. If both get off to a good start it could be a great catalyst for others.
View from the Oppostion – A hectic 48 hours at Dunfermline as they finally sack manager Allan Johnston. They have made the decision to replace him with Stevie Crawford for the time being and they have also announced that JACKIE MCNAMARA (yes that is in block capitals) will be at the club as an advisor to Crawford and the board. Interesting times ahead…
To be fair Dunfermline should have been challenging for the league this year and they have been badly mismanaged. It was the right call to change manager as they still have a decent squad that should be doing better. Great timing then that they come to Tannadice tomorrow to get things started under their new boss…
CURRENT FORM (LAST FOUR LEAGUE GAMES) –
United – 1-1 Draw vs Inverness (A), 2-1 Win vs Falkirk (H), 2-1 Loss vs Alloa (A), 1-1 Draw vs Partick (H)
Dunfermline – 0-0 Draw vs Queen of the South (A), 0-0 Draw vs Ayr (H), 4-2 Win vs Falkirk (A), 2-2 Draw vs Alloa (H)
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE –