Manager on ThursdayThursday, 3rd Nov 2016
03/11/16: AJ - "Against Dumbarton I think the boys showed a lot of character and spirit coming back after losing the first goal.
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston is well aware of the good form that his next opponents Raith Rovers are in, but getting a result against them in the Fife Derby could give the team the kind of tonic that they need.
"Hopefully we can turn our season around with a result against our local rivals."
The first meeting at Starks Park in August was a very close affair but it was the Rovers who went ahead and after that Allan Johnston felt that only proved how crucial the first goal in a game can be.
"The first goal is massive in the majority of games and we have lost the first goal in a lot of games this year. You can see how tight this league is, there are not many goals and you are getting beat by the odd goal.
"It is important and on Saturday against Dumbarton I think the boys showed a lot of character and spirit coming back after losing the first goal. We came back and got ahead but you cannot lose a goal within 45 seconds, that is very naive and that`s what we have to improve on."
The manager stressed that you both attack and defend as a team and sometimes it is individual errors that are causing goals to be conceded:-
"I still think that we have good players, we need a couple of results and get the confidence to spring back where you expect to win games. The only way that you are going to do that is everybody pulling together, working incredibly hard for each other.
"That means defending, attacking, throwing yourself in front of things, that is the only way you turn things around."
As expected the manager has poured over the video of last Saturday`s match and feels that his side totally dominated it.
"Dumbarton at times had six and seven camped at the edge of their 18 yard box. It is really hard to break down at times. You just need that bit of quality to play that final pass or time your run right to get in behind them.
"We could have defended better for both goals but you can always look back at goals and say that. I thought it was a bit too easy."
Raith Rovers are expected to be without key players like Bobby Barr but the Pars manager knows a player from his days at Kilmarnock can step in and do a job.
"Chris Johnston is a good young player, very direct. He had cruciate problems last year but he has come back and by all accounts he did really well. Mark Stewart came on in the last game and scored a really good goal. Vaughan can easily step in there. So they have got options even though they have got people missing.
"They have a good quality squad but then so have we. We are at home and hopefully get a result."
The Pars boss knows Rovers gaffer Gary Locke from days together at Hearts. There has always been rivalry between them whether it is in training or playing against each other. AJ said:-
"He was at Hearts when I was at Kilmarnock and you always want to win against each other but we are still friends at the end of the day."
Allan Johnston claimed that it was what the players not the management do that matters on Saturday.
"It is about getting the best out of the players because as I said before, going forward especially we have a lot of good players that can cause any team problems. We just need to make sure we get the maximum out of everybody. If we do that we will be alright."
The manager felt that it was important to have good people alongside you:-
"Sandy (Clark) and Potts work very hard and they want to be successful as well. That is when you need good pros as well. You can see by the tempo in training today that the boys are right up for the game, they are looking forward to it.
"What I liked on Saturday was that they were not happy, they were raging at the end of the game because they knew themselves that was not acceptable. It was good to see that because you need a reaction, you can`t just accept it, so absolutely brilliant. We now need to turn that desire into results."
On the injury front Ben Richards-Everton went to se a specialist in midweek and has had an injection, any reaction will need to be assessed before it is known if he is available although unlikely before this weekend.
John Herron (above) played 70 minutes for the U20s in a match against Rangers at Kelty on Tuesday afternoon. The manager felt that it was one of the 20s best performances of the season so far.
"They did really well, they were organised and played a lot of good quality football. That is really good and always pleasing when you see that happening.
"John is a good player and it will be good to have him back. He has missed a lot of games and a lot of training over the last month but you can see that the quality is still there.
"Farid (El Alagui) is fine. He never trained on Monday but did the majority of the session on Tuesday and the whole session today without any reaction which is what we were hoping for. It was important that he fixed his problem with his calf. He was taking longer and longer to recover so it wasn`t worth the chance of him getting injured long term."