Dundee boss Paul Hartley may be relishing the return of striker Rory Loy to the Dees strike-force this weekend, but he’s not the man to solve a very different problem at Dens Park.
Ahead of their fixture with Motherwell, Hartley has spoken at how the forward’s return to full fitness is a blessing for the Dark Blues.
He told the Dundee Evening Telegraph: “Saturday was the first time I’ve been able to call on Loy, [Kane] Hemmings and [Greg] Stewart since the Dundee United game, because of fitness.
“We want to play this way with all three of them in the team. The key for me is making sure we can keep them fit, though.”
While the triple threat of an attacking force will strike fear into the hearts of many a Ladbrokes Premiership team this season, it is in defence that they need to step it up if they are to be successful this term.
Injuries and lack of fitness have undoubtedly played a part, with seven different players featuring in the four defensive positions this season already, but their record certainly needs improving.
In just three of their 10 competitive fixtures this season have Dundee managed to keep their opponents to one goal or less.
Their 17 conceded in the top-flight means just five sides in the whole of the Ladbrokes SPFL have a worse defensive record.
A solid foundation in attack could negate some of those strikes they let in, but continue at this rate and claiming a top-six spot could be far from as straightforward as odds of 4/5 suggest.
In fact, continue at this leaky rate at the back (averaging 1.88 goals per game) and they are on course for a bumper 71 strikes conceded this term.
To put that into context, no side has let in that many goals in a season since 2011-12 when Dunfermline conceded 82 en route to finishing rock bottom.
It gets worse with just two of the seven teams shipping 70 or more goals in a season since 2001 avoiding the division’s wooden spoon.
And while we are not suggesting that things are quite so bad as to be suggesting Dundee will finish bottom, it should serve as a wake-up to those marshalling the back-line in the games ahead.
Next up for the attack-minded Dees is a visit of currently managerless Motherwell.
The game could come at a decent time to improve their ‘Goals Against’ column, with the Well netting just two goals in their last four games.
A clean sheet is priced up at 7/4, suggesting it could be more of the same at Dens Park on Saturday.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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