Manager on ThursdayThursday, 11th Feb 2016
11/02/16: “I’m sure they will be well fired up. Everybody knows the importance of the game, probably for both clubs.
Allan Johnston told the media on Thursday that Ryan Williamson and Lewis Martin were both back in training, he said:-
“Its good to see Them back because they were massive players at the start of the season. The two of them were flying, especially big Ryan. Obviously it was the start of the season and it was only a few league and cup games that he played. After getting such a bad injury, to be back so soon is a major boost."
Ryan will be building it up in training and doing a bit more running at the end to build up his fitness and match sharpness. The 19 year old who suffered a double leg break toward the end of the Petrofac Training Cup tie at Forfar on 18th August, will get introduced into Development League games to build it up from there. AJ added:-
“Lewis is going to play a part in the reserve game on Friday. He’s been out for a long time so it will be like pre-season for him. He’s just got to build it up again and get some match time and hopefully he will be back sooner than later."
On the downside other leg break victim club captain Callum Fordyce has had another operation, the manager continued:-
“He’s just got to take his time again and it’s the same as Ryan, there are no time limits. Everybody is different how they progress, but the main thing is that we get him back fully fit."
Turning his attention to the Ladbrokes League One match against Ayr United on Saturday the gaffer is looking for different result from the defeat inflicted last time Ian McCall's team came to East End Park:-
“It was a good performance the last time they were here, I don’t think we deserved to get beat. We’ve got to make sure that we turn that kind of performance into wins. To be fair the boys have done that for the majority of the season. It was a big disappointment that day, especially with the injury to big Callum as well. We definitely are up for a result this weekend."
Matches against Ayr have been physical affairs and no different is expected this time:-
“I’m sure they will be well fired up. Everybody knows the importance of the game, probably for both clubs. It will be great to get a result and I’m sure the boys are looking forward to it and the fans will turn out in their numbers and get behind the team as they have. You just need to look at the amount of people that came to Stenny last week – it was incredible. So we are looking for a big turnout."
Now trailing Dunfermline by ten points Ayr will be keen not to lose anymore distance from the league leaders after last week's home defeat to Peterhead, a result that took the Blue Toon into second place. Allan Johnston continued:-
“They are not on as good a run as they were at the beginning of the season, but they still have good players. Especially going forward, guys like Preston and Moore and obviously they have spent a lot of money bring in Stevenson. They have a lot of quality going forward but so have we."
Reminded of comment made by Jim McInally regards the Pars being too far in front of them, the manager said:-
“I think the two of them are chasing us, you just need to look at Peterhead’s run, the amount of goals they have scored, the points they have picked up. I think they are the form team at the moment, but we have just to concentrate on ourselves and keep getting results and putting performances that we have been then we will be in a good position at the end of the season.
“We have just to concentrate on ourselves and not Ayr’s confidence, its about how we play and our confidence. We just have to focus on ourselves as we normally do every week. We expect to beat teams no matter who we are playing, so we will be having a go as we normally do every week."
Questioned on his desire to sign a new striker, AJ replied:-
“There is no point bringing in someone who is just going to make up the numbers, we should bring in a bit of quality. We will wait and see."
The Manager was not willing to discuss the rumours about Faissal El Bakhtaoui because of the importance of the game on Saturday.
“We can’t afford any distractions and we have just got to focus on the game. It’s a huge game against Ayr and if we get a result it will set down a marker and that is what we have to focus on.
“We had a couple of knocks at the beginning of the week but everybody is back today. We have a full squad (apart from long term) and everybody is desperate to play and that is what you are looking for as a manager.
"We’ve been lucky with the squad that if someone has been out then there has been somebody there to step in and that is what you are looking for as a manager. We’ve had a good squad all year, putting pressure on the people that have been playing. They know that they have to produce the performances if they are going to stay in the team."
The Manager praised the travelling support at Stenhousemuir last Saturday and hoped that fans would turn out in their numbers for Saturday's top v third match:-
“it was incredible. We are looking for a bit of success for them as well for showing their loyalty."