Football - Smith seeks cup boost

Dundee manager Barry Smith hopes Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie with Morton can give his players a welcome break from the strain of league action.

PA Sport
Football - Smith seeks cup boost

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Dundee boss Barry Smith is looking forward to a break from league action

The Dark Blues host First Division Morton at Dens Park on Sunday with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs. Smith's side sit 14 points adrift at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following their midweek defeat by Hearts, but Smith is urging his players to take advantage of their cup weekend in a bid to kickstart their season.

"It's been difficult this season for obvious reasons but this is a wee break from the league," he said.

"The cup is always nice to look forward to and we're going into Sunday's game looking to try and get a run. We've found results hard to come by in the league but this is a one-off tie with a last-eight place going to the winners.

"We don't need any extra motivation than that so we'll definitely be ready for it.

"The lads are all excited about the prospect of this tie because we know what's at stake for the club. I won't need to say too much to them before the match. We want to get into the next round and believe we can do so if we play the way we know we can."

Dundee slumped to a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Hearts on Wednesday and Smith wants to see an instant improvement against Morton, who are currently five points clear at the top of the Irn-Bru First Division.

He said: "We could have done better the other night. We had played well in the two previous league games but didn't really carry that on in the Hearts game, although I don't want to be too critical of the players. However, the good thing is that we have a game coming up very quickly where we can hopefully make amends.

Dundee could hand a debut to on-loan Nottingham Forest midfielder David Morgan, but midfielder Gary Harkins is cup-tied following his recent move from Kilmarnock.

The hosts are still without injured players such as skipper Stephen O'Donnell (knee), Davide Grassi (knee), Carl Finnegan (knee), Mark Kerr (knee) and Jamie McCluskey (Achilles).

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