Manager on ThursdayThursday, 12th Oct 2017
12/10/17: AJ - "They’ve got a lot of boys I’ve worked with from here or at Queen of the South. I’m sure it will have a real edge to the game."
Understandably Allan Johnston was disappointed to lose last Saturday especially since the Derby against Falkirk is such a massive one for the fans. He told the media:-
"We knew we were going in with an under-strength team but with the players we had on show we could have done a lot better. We just need to get back on track, the league, as we always said, is our priority and it’s a massive game at the weekend against one of the teams that are up there in the league.
"It’s going to be a good test but we’ve got a point to prove as well. We want to get back on track and keep in touch with the teams at the top, and want to be challenging."
The Pars currently sit third in the league with three points separating fourth placed Livingston and league leaders St Mirren. AJ felt that it was too early to make assumptions that it was already down to a race with just four contenders:-
"You can see the league is going to be go right to the end with a lot of teams being really similar. Every team is a hard game, there are no easy games. The majority of teams are very strong and very similar so I can see a lot of twists and turns over the course of season."
Given the shortage of personnel meant a less than full subs bench last Saturday and Dean Shiels red card, it is good news that the four of his squad who were missing because of international commitment have come back fit:-
"They’ve come back fine so that’s great news. Callum Morris, to get involved in Northern Ireland is a massive one for him. It would have been good for him to get on, but just being part of the squad. I think that was one of his concerns if we were in the Championship, would he get picked?
"It just shows you how well he’s been doing and he gets that recognition. Fraser Aird played when he was away with Canada, Ryan Williamson, different class, being involved with Scotland Under-21s and the two younger guys as well. It’s amazing for the club but we have to make sure we refocus and are ready for the game at the weekend."
Ryan Williamson came on in both Scotland U21 matches and his manager was very pleased for him:-
"To get a game against England, a team of that calibre, it’s great experience for him. We’re all delighted he got on and I’m sure he impressed the coaching staff there as well. I imagine he will be involved in more of the upcoming games."
Dean Shiels collected a red card in the sixth minute of time added on at the Falkirk Stadium and Allan Johnston revealed that an appeal had been submitted:-
"We appealed the red card, I don’t think it was successful. It was heard this morning, I just know exactly I just know that he never won the appeal.
"I think it was more of a slip, he went in really fast and it looks bad when you see it in real-time. When you actually slow it down, you can see he’s slipped and that’s why it’s looked worse that it was. But he was nowhere near the player when he goes in for the challenge and I don’t think he was every endangering the opponent and that is what a sending off is for.
"He has slipped a wee bit and his knee gets bent behind and his ankle goes back as well so he’s lucky he never injured himself - typical striker trying to close down. I’m sure he’ll learn from that and move on."
Turning to the opposition this Saturday, fifth placed Queens of the South have players like Stephen Dobbie and James McFadden and there is little doubt that they head the Dumfries side`s threat but the Pars manager expanded:-
"They’ve got a lot of quality, Chris Kane as well - Premiership player, scoring a lot of goals. Derek Lyle’s scored a lot of goals in Championship so they’ve got really good players. Guys that can score goals and guys that have been here before as well, guys like Callum Fordyce. It’s brilliant to see him back playing and doing really well. Shaun Rooney (pictured below) as well. They’ve got a lot of boys I’ve worked with from here or at Queen of the South. I’m sure it will have a real edge to the game."
The Dunfermline injury list still includes David Hopkirk, Michael Paton and top goalscorer, Joe Cardle but Jean-Yves M`Voto is fine and has trained all week.
"That’s good as well" added the manager, "it was too much to throw him in at centre half in the Falkirk game. He had been out for a few weeks.
"Nat Wedderburn trained today, he took a sore one just in the collision with Sean Murdoch, but that’s good news because he’s a big player for us."