James McPake: Dundee boss aims to keep Cammy Kerr & promote youth

McPake made Kerr his captain for the final day of last season
McPake made Kerr his captain for the final day of last season

New Dundee manager James McPake hopes to persuade Cammy Kerr to stay on after relegation and wants more players coming through the club's academy.

Dundee-born Kerr, 23, is out of contract, having been on the books since the age of eight.

"I'm desperate to tie down Cammy," said McPake. "He's proof of what I want to do.

"I want to see more of our own on the pitch, players that the fans can relate to."

Kerr captained Dundee on the final day of the season, with McPake acting as caretaker manager after the sacking of Jim McIntyre.

The former player and youth coach was given the job on a full-time basis this week, tasked with bringing the Dark Blues back to the top flight.

"I think we should be a sustainable Premiership club," McPake told BBC Scotland. "We were there for five years but that's not enough.

"We're not producing enough of our own players. I get that is not easy but we do have a good academy."

With relegation already confirmed, McPake gave a debut to Finlay Robertson, 16, in the final day loss to St Mirren and had another 16-year-old, Josh Mulligan, on the bench.

Kerr is among 10 players out of contract, while a host of loan players have left Dens Park, leaving McPake with a "big rebuild".

"Every manager has had to come in and move 10 or 12 bodies to bring in their own players," he said. "I've not got that problem. I don't need to move people out.

"I can go out and identify players to build a squad. The budget is going to drop but it's still strong. There's no excuse there.

"We're going into a difficult league and we can't go in with a hangover from relegation. We're a club that is used to getting beat and that needs to flip.

"We need to get the dressing room together. That's huge, to have everyone pulling together - and we need to do it quickly."

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