JAMES McPAKE reckons the unique challenges of management during the Covid-19 crisis are summed up by the fact that even Gordon Strachan cannot offer any guidance.
Strachan, 63, serves as technical director at Dens Park and McPake regularly called upon the vast experience of the former Scotland and Celtic boss during his maiden campaign in management.
But more than 20 seasons in the dugout did not prepare Strachan for an unprecedented football shutdown, months of inaction for players, financial concerns and the prospect of a curtailed 27-game Championship next season.
McPake said: “Gordon Strachan has experienced just about everything in football.
“He’s won titles, managed Scotland, has coached in the Premier League. He’s done the lot.
“So I was asking him about the Covid-19 situation and how he’d approach it. Even he was saying ‘I can’t really help you – this is a totally unique experience.’
“When you’ve got Gordon Strachan saying that, then we’re all gubbed really!”
Nevertheless, McPake is already planning for the upcoming shortened season, with the second tier slated to kick-off on October 17.
Although it will be more of a sprint than a marathon, he is adamant little will change on the training ground and his lofty demands will remain unaltered.
He continued: “The need to start well is there, with less room for error, but in terms of how we approach the season, nothing will change.
“We need to be as fit as we can, as sharp as we can and do a lot of work on the training ground to prepare us for situations we’ll face.
“We’ll certainly not be approaching pre-season and thinking ‘we don’t need to put the same graft in – it’s only 27 games’. We’ll be working as hard as ever and pushing the players to their maximum.”
However, McPake does retain an acute sense of perspective regarding the return of football after his family tragically lost someone to the virus in recent weeks.
He added: “I’m someone who lives and breathes football, but I’m not going to obsess about not being able to train or complain about the uncertainty when millions of people have been affected by this.
“You’ve got to look at the situation with a real sense of perspective. I can’t wait for football to return but it needs to be done safely.”