Football: Combe ready to deepen Dons' gloom

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ALAN COMBE'S ambition is to keep more clean sheets this season for Dundee United and perhaps win himself a new contract. That is one of the reasons why the Tannadice Park goalkeeper does not want to be known as the first man to concede a league goal to Aberdeen this season.

United go to Pittodrie today to face a home side without a point in their first six matches under their new manager, Ebbe Skovdahl. It is only six weeks into the season, and the Dons are already favourites to finish bottom of the Scottish Premier League after failing to score in the league.

Combe, who arrived from St Mirren last year, has been handed the jersey following the departure of Sieb Dykstra in the summer and his form has been impressive. United, who finished second from bottom last season, are currently third from top after a bright start to their programme.

Combe said: "I am aware of their record and I don't really want to be known as the man who conceded the first league goal to them. Aberdeen have had a nightmare start to the season and everyone will be expecting us to go there and win."

For the Dons' German midfielder Andreas Mayer, the match represents an opportunity to mend the strained relationship between the players and a vociferous section of the support which currently stands at an all-time low.

"When some of our players go on to the field now the home supporters boo them and that's very bad," Mayer said. "It's fair to say we're afraid to make mistakes.

"It's not easy to play a game of football if you don't have your own supporters behind you. The real fans are still backing us, but we need the whole of the support tomorrow.

"I can understand the fans' reaction if we are losing 3-0 at home as in the last game with St Johnstone, and the way we played after going 1-0 down that day must change.

"Right now whenever we lose a goal the heads go down and we feel the weight of our poor record on our shoulders, but we have to stay together as a club and work together.

"It's not easy for Ebbe but he's trying to keep us upbeat. If we let this get to us we'll never change the situation, we just have to believe in ourselves again."

The Pittodrie encounter is the only Premier League game today. Dundee entertain St Johnstone tomorrow and Kilmarnock visit Hibernian.