Evening Telegraph (First Edition)
Bowyer hopes McCowan’s best is still to come
DUNDEE will benefit from a relaxed Luke McCowan says boss Gary Bowyer after the winger’s “best display of the season” against Ayr on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match at Dens Park after helping the Dark Blues to a crucial 3-1 victory over his old side.
An assist for Ryan Sweeney’s opening goal was added to by a late goal to secure all three points as Dundee cut the gap with leaders Queen’s Park to four points.
Like many at Dens Park since the turn of the year, McCowan hasn’t hit the heights he is capable of.
But Tuesday’s goal drew him level with Paul McMullan as Dundee’s second-top league scorer this season with five.
And Bowyer is hoping that’s just the start of a late tear from his winger.
“I was delighted with Luke, I think Tuesday was his best display of the season,” the Dundee boss said.
“He was playing in his most natural position, he likes to cut inside. He can get down the line as well and has shown that.
“But I thought he was really good against Ayr. As well as the goal he put a right-footed shot over the bar in the second half, had a shot blocked in the first and another saved.
“And he took his goal well. “I told him it was the best I’d seen him and now it’s up to him to build on it.
“His corner delivery for the opening goal was very good as well. As a team, that’s something that’s been inconsistent all season.”
He added: “A lot of Luke’s good stuff comes from sheer work-rate.
“And you need your wingers to work really hard when you play two strikers because their workload is high. You want them to get back in tight when you’ve not got the ball but also to push up and press the full-back.
“It’s a lot of work and both McCowan and Luke Hannant did that really well.
“Luke McCowan tries too hard sometimes. He needs to relax a little at times.
“We saw on Tuesday how he can perform when he is relaxed and plays with confidence.
Fans urged to be patient as Hannant finds his feet
“Now it’s about consistently showing how good a player he is.”
With McCowan playing off the right flank as a left-footer, Bowyer opted for Hannant as a rightfooter on the left wing.
Since signing on loan from Colchester United at the end of the January transfer window, the 29-year-old is yet to convince at Dens Park in his seven appearances so far.
But Bowyer says there is more to come from Hannant.
“Sometimes with January signings you are getting a player who hasn’t played much and it takes a bit of time,” he added.
“Luke also picked up an injury which set him back.
“He’ll get the benefit of these last two games now, he hadn’t played 90 minutes for a while.
“I know he’s got quality, I’ve seen it down south, so hopefully that will start to really show now.”
Hannant made way for Paul McMullan in the final 18 minutes of that victory over the Honest Men.
McMullan was outstanding for the Dark Blues in the first half of the season.
And Bowyer is hoping a little spell out of the starting XI might bring back that level of performance after a recent dip.
“We now have competition in those areas as well,” Bowyer said of his wide attackers.
“We chose to give Paul McMullan a breather on Tuesday.
“He was on fire for us earlier in the season but recently he’s not had his best games.
“So we thought a wee breather might be good for him. He’s had a life-changing experience with the baby coming along.
“Now, he wants to be playing but over a long season every player needs a refresher.
“He’ll still have a big part to play – we all know an all-firing Paul McMullan is a defender’s worst nightmare.”