Dundee defender Brent Sancho believes no one deserves an SPL place next season more than the long-suffering followers of the Dens club. After a nightmare three weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury, the Trinidad and Tobago star expects be fit to join the battle for his own and the Dark Blues’ top-flight future when Inverness Caley Thistle visit today.
As much as he wants to stay up to help the team and, hopefully, secure a new contract, Sancho will be delighted most for the fans if the threat of relegation can be staved off via wins against ICT and then Livingston in the final game.
Since signing up just under two years ago, he has seen the support suffer as their club has come perilously close to closure because of financial crisis, lose a host of top players, and battle near the bottom of the league all this season.
Now he feels they’re due a break and has called on the players to do all they can to give them one over the next two Saturdays.
“I don’t want to patronise the fans, but I definitely feel for them and, if anyone deserves us to stay up, it is them. We’ve given them some poor performances this season, but they have stayed behind us and given us tremendous support,” said Sancho.
“Last week we had a great support with us at Dunfermline, but, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised because that’s the way they’ve been since I came.
“Now the time has come for us to repay them by getting the results we need to stay up and we have to fight as if our lives depend on it to do that.”
He believes the fact that, despite being bottom, the players know six points would guarantee safety, will provoke the needed response to last week’s 5-0 hammering. “Not many teams go bottom this late in the season and still have it in their own hands to get to safety. We have to make the most of that and we can.
“We have a good spirit in the squad and enough players with the kind of experience you need in these situations. If we go about it the right way, we can get those wins.”
Only once Dundee’s fate is settled will Sancho learn if he’s getting a new contract. He knows a successful conclusion to the campaign would improve his chances of being offered the deal he would love to sign. Failure will almost certainly end his Dens days.
“Having gone through all that’s happened here since I signed has given me a great feeling for Dundee. But I understand that if we were not in the top flight, it would be hard for the club to offer new deals. I also have to say that, as a professional, I want to be playing at the highest level, but, hopefully, I will be able to do that here.”
While by no means 100%, his ankle strain has improved considerably and yesterday saw him take part in a full training session for the first time since he limped off at Kilmarnock last month.
“I will have to see if I suffer any reaction to doing a full session before the game. But it felt good during training and I’m confident I’m going to be available. I’m desperate to be and, if the last couple of games out have taught me one thing, it is that I am going to have a very frustrating life once I stop playing.”
As well as deciding whether or not he can restore Sancho to his line-up, after Derek Soutar’s personal disaster at Dunfermline, boss Jim Duffy has still to confirm who will play in goal.
He has admitted he has made up his own mind, but will keep the decision under wraps until he makes his team public at 2 pm tomorrow. Certain to be in it is free-of-suspension Tam McManus, while John Sutton, Iain Anderson and Joel Kitamarike are all likely to be fit. Dundee are expecting a big turnout and urge fans to come early.