Keeper up for new challenge

Another of James McPake’s Dundee youth team has been re-united with his former coach.  Last season saw Sam Fisher come on loan to Dunfermline, a move that was made permanent in the summer as he moved to West Fife in a three year deal. Now goalkeeper Harry Sharp has followed his former team mate down the M90 for a loan period with the Pars. 

Even at the age of 22 Harry hopes to bring experience that can help Dunfermline make the transition from League One to Championship. As well as playing in cup games, Harry made six Premier League appearances and seven in the Championship last season. His first senior start was in a Premier League match against Motherwell in March 2022 and he has taken a lot from those games:-

“It’s the top league, it’s where you want to be in this country, playing at that level, playing against your Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Hearts. You do take a lot of experience from it, and you can learn a lot from playing those teams.”

He considers it a boost, knowing that he has played in the Championship before and could feature as soon as the first league game at home to Airdrieonians. He said:-

“Obviously, it is a big game. The league opener, a big day for the club on Saturday, and hopefully I can come in – if that’s what the manager decides – and do my job.”

Harry is well known to James McPake and the pair have kept in contact over the years, he is delighted that Dundee have allowed him out on loan and explained:-

“He’s obviously wanted to bring me in, so he’s spoken to the club, and the club’s wanted me to get out on loan, gain experience of being in a first team, and hopefully push for minutes here as well.”

Harry feels it is an advantage knowing the manager and assistant Dave Mackay from his days in youth football at Dundee. It makes it easier to come in to a different club, where maybe you might not know many of the playing staff.

“Having a few familiar faces definitely does make it easier to come in.  He knows my style of play, my strengths, and what I can help bring to the team as well, which definitely helps.  Knowing the manager, and the way he works, is a big part of it but it’s a big football club. The supporters are great, it’s a brilliant stadium, brilliant set up, and just the all-round way that the club is, I’ve been impressed by it so far.”

The keeper played at Station Park on Wednesday night as Dundee B defeated Buckie Thistle in the opening round of this season’s SPFL Trust Trophy and his move to Dunfermline happened really quickly in the wake of an ankle injury to first choice keeper Deniz Mehmet. Not making any assumptions Harry has his fingers crossed that he can make an immediate impact and play games but added:-

“For me, I’m coming in to help the team out, do my bit, and push on for wins in the season, and get off to a good start in the season as well.  I’ve played 20-odd games, or whatever it is now, which is always good. It helps you progress and, obviously coming here and getting games and minutes, is a big thing for me.  You’re hungry for it. You want to keep pushing yourself and playing, it’s a big thing in football.”

Addressing the vocal role of a goalkeeper Harry stressed that he likes to speak a lot, keep it simple with simple shouts for the defence:-

“Just knowing your backline, your midfield, who’s in front of you – getting to know them quick is a big thing obviously, and building relationships with them. I’ve obviously spoken to a lot of the defenders in training, and I think it will be fairly straightforward going on.”

His voice is unlikely to be as constant as that of captain Kyle Benedictus marshalling the defence in front of him in but he agreed that is a real benefit:-

“That definitely helps. It’s good when players are speaking, helping each other out, and giving little pointers here and there throughout the game.”

Ultimately Harry hopes to return to Dundee as a better player after this loan period, he summed up his personal goal:-

“Hopefully I can get more learning curves in here again, learn from it, and kick on again.”

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