DUNDEE have already beaten one half of Edinburgh this season – and Dens Park player/assistant manager Matt Lockwood is hoping they can pull off the double this weekend.
The Dark Blues travel to the Capital on Saturday to take on Hibs, just weeks after defeating Hearts on their own patch thanks to an early penalty from Ryan Conroy.
That was Dundee’s only SPL victory of the season so far but Lockwood believes his side are more than capable of upsetting the odds again this weekend.
While in confident mood, the former Nottingham Forest and Leyton Orient player is expecting a tough test in Edinburgh and admits that he has seen a huge improvement in Hibs this season.
The Easter Road outfit had to battle hard to avoid relegation from the SPL last time around but Lockwood feels that Pat Fenlon now has his side playing the kind of football that he wants.
He said: “We have had a bit of a tough start to the season. We have only won one game which was against Hearts just the other week.
“At the end of the day, though, we didn’t have that long to prepare for life in the SPL because we only found out a couple of weeks before the start of the season that we would be taking Rangers’ place.
“We are slowly but surely getting there, although we have been unfortunate with the number of injuries that we have had.
“Most of them are getting back to fitness now though so hopefully it won’t be too long until we are regularly picking up a few wins and climbing the table.
“I know a few of the lads at Hibs so I know how good a side they are and I think that everyone can see how much Pat Fenlon has managed to turn things around from last season.”
One of Dundee’s main threats this weekend will undoubtedly come from former Hibs player Colin Nish, but Lockwood revealed that the big hitman hasn’t been able to give away any inside information on his old team because the personnel has changed so much.
Nish quit Easter Road in the summer of 2010 and joined Hartlepool on a free before heading back to Scotland with Dundee at the start of this season. Lockwood added: “I know that Colin was with Hibs for a long time and that he supported the club.
“But he’s been away from Easter Road for a little while now and there have been alot of new players brought in, so I think that the only information he has given us is that he will probably be booed by their fans!
“Hibs are a big team, they are doing well this season and we know that it will be an extremely tough game for us. Every game in the SPL has been for us so far.
“The bookies will no doubt be expecting a home win, but you never know.
“We will certainly be going to Easter Road believing that we can pick up the points.”
For the last five years Lockwood has run a successful football academy in his home town of Southend-on-Sea in Essex and he is hoping to replicate that blueprint in Scotland. Lockwood, despite playing for Dundee for the last two years, lives in Edinburgh and is planning on opening a second branch of the Matt Lockwood Football Acedemy in the Capital later this month.
He continued: “We [his family] love it in Edinburgh and we would love to move here permanently.
“I’m 35 now and I don’t know how much longer I will be playing full-time football.
“You have got to think about what you are going to do at the end of your career because all I have ever known is playing football.
“I would like to go into management but the academy is a great way of staying involved and passing on your knowledge to the next generation of players.
“I will be there every week and will be organising matches against pro-teams.
“I think that it is something that other soccer schools can’t offer.
“I’ve been up here for just over two years now and there is quite a big rugby culture but with the likes of Hibs and Hearts and the other teams close to the city, there is a lot of potential there.
“I’ve been the assistant at Dundee for a while now, I’ve got 20 years of experience behind me and I’ve played 600 games over the course of my career.
“My Academy in Southend is doing well, so hopefully the Edinburgh Academy can be just as successful.”
• For more information or to book a place at Matt’s academy call 07768 134 284 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org