Football: Mercedes Dens; CLASS ACTS LIKE SPERONI AND NOVO HAVE GONE BUT HEGARTY TIPS NEW BOYS TO HAVE DUNDEE RUNNING SWEET AND SMOOTH

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Byline: BY EUAN McARTHUR

THERE have been more goings than comings at Dens Park lately but Dundee starlet Chris Hegarty still reckons the future is bright.

Julian Speroni, Nacho Novo, Steven Milne, Dave Mackay and Lee Mair are the latest first team stars to depart the club, leading to talk in some circles of a season of struggle for Jim Duffy's men this term.

Hegarty begs to differ, though, believing his boss has a stronger squad now than he did when administration forced him to undertake severe cutbacks last season.

John Sutton, Bobby Mann, Glenn Larsen (above right) and Iain Anderson are the new arrivals that fill the young defender with confidence.

Hegarty said: 'We've lost a few players but I think the manager has actually strengthened his squad during the summer.

'Sutton gives us another option up front and will bea good foil for Steve Lovell.

'And Mann's arrival means we've added experience at the back while I'm sure Larsen and Anderson will prove useful additions too.' The one void Duffy hasn't filled with a new face is the goalkeeping position. But Hegarty isn't about to panic and says Dundee fans shouldn't either.

He's backing Derek Soutar to take his chance between the posts now previous custodian Speroni has joined English Premiership newboys Crystal Palace.

Hegarty said: 'I've trained with Derek for three years and he's a top-class keeper.

'He did well in his first start up at Aberdeen, when I also started for the first time, and has looked good in training.

'He's also played for Scotland Under-21s so I'm sure he's got a big part to play in Dundee's future.'

With other youngsters like Stephen McNally, Callum McDonald, Bobby Linn and Scott Robertson also coming through the ranks Hegarty can see last season's seventh place finish being bettered.

He said: 'It's important to have boys who have an affinity for the club and we're all good friends which is another bonus.

'There's a great atmosphere at the club and everyone is looking forward to the start of the season. …