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Tommy Wright’s Scottish Premiership preview: Dundee United will need signings to add to Shankland’s goals

© SNSLawrence Shankland in action for Dundee United
Lawrence Shankland in action for Dundee United

Micky Mellon became only the 18th Dundee United manager in nearly half-a-century when he took charge of the Tangerines at the beginning of the month.

It is, to be fair, a statistic heavily weighted by the inclusion of the Jim McLean years.

The legendary Tannadice boss held the post from 1971 until his retirement in 1993.

However, if Mellon is to be a success in the role, Tommy Wright argues he will not be able to spend much time looking back at the triumphs of the past.

The squad that won the Championship, he believes, will need to be strengthened significantly for the new challenge ahead.

“I know Micky – he is a good appointment,” said Wright, who was linked with the post, but could not consider it under the terms of his exit agreement with St Johnstone.

“He has inherited a decent squad.

“But I think he will very quickly realise he will have to hold on to Lawrence Shankland.

“You look at what they did in the Championship under Robbie Neilson last year, and you can see he is a massively- important player for them.

“Time and again, his goals made all the difference between them winning and not winning.

“If you also consider United have lost Paul Watson, Rakish Bingham and Osman Sow, you can see there are gaps to be filled.

“So I think they will need five or six players to strengthen that squad.”

Equally, Wright warns that United’s new boss cannot afford to leap in too prematurely.

“It will be important for Micky that he gets to know the league quickly,” said Tommy.

“Managers have come up from down south before, and maybe recruited too much from English football and it hasn’t worked out.

“So Micky will have to quickly assess what is needed for this league.

“I think, knowing him, that his teams will be organised and hard to beat.

“He will want them to play with a good tempo.

“Micky likes his teams to get balls in the box, create chances, and be on the front foot as much as possible.

“Sometimes there is a perception that football managers don’t want to do this, or do that.

“The fact is we all want to be strong going forward.

“But there is a realisation that you have to be organised, and play slightly different at times.”