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Dundee boss James McPake hoping team can break 17-year Tannadice hoodoo

Soccer – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Dundee United v Dundee – Tannadice Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Dundee manager James McPake is convinced his squad have what it takes to end a 17-year wait for victory at Tannadice.

McPake’s side take on Dundee United on Sunday in the first top-flight derby between the next-door neighbours since Dundee consigned Mixu Paatelainen’s men to relegation at Dens Park in May 2016.

Dundee were unbeaten in four matches against their city rivals that season – with the help of McPake’s stoppage-time equaliser at Tannadice – but they have not enjoyed a winning feeling on enemy turf since Steve Lovell and John Sutton were on target in a 2-1 triumph in August 2004.

McPake said: “We want to go down there and break a 17-year hoodoo. We have not won down there in 17 years so there’s the carrot for us, go down there and be the first Dundee team to win there in 17 years.

“We have certainly got the players to play in these types of games. Almost everybody has played in some sort of derby. Some of my squad have played in Old Firm derbies, a lot of them have played in the Dundee derby, a lot of them played in massive play-off games for this club only a few months ago.

“So we have certainly got players who can handle the occasion. That’s what you need to do in these games, you need to go down there and handle the occasion, because at times it can get the better of people.

“But we fully believe we have the squad of players and the right mentality and character to go down there and get a positive result.”

McPake’s side secured a point on their previous visit in December 2019 but were on the end of a 6-2 thrashing months beforehand in the early stages on his reign.

Those games were in the second tier and the former Hibernian and Coventry defender feels there is something extra special about the latest fixture.

“We played them in the Championship but I think a Premiership derby carries more weight,” he said.

“I know it’s the exact same thing, you are going for three points, but it’s the Premiership. Both clubs feel they should be in the Premiership and both clubs now are in the Premiership.

“It’s games like this you relish, it’s the one you look for when the fixtures come out.

“I’m looking forward to the walk down there. We have sold out our allocation and I’m sure it will be a full house and the atmosphere will be electric. I have played in enough of them, I have managed in a few of them, and they are great games to be involved in.”