Manager on ThursdayThursday, 2nd Mar 2017
02/03/17: AJ - "We’ve always been playing under pressure the whole season but I think the boys have handled it well.
After matches against teams in the divisions top four, Dunfermline now face a team level on points with them but Allan Johnston expects no less a task in seeking out a win. He told the media:-
"If you look at Dumbarton they have recruited well and they’re on a decent run. They’ve not lost a lot of games since January and got results against teams like Falkirk and Dundee United. They are a team that is much improved. They always seem to be there or there about and they seem to hang in when you don’t except them to.
"They have brought in good players, guys like Carswell and Vaughan from Raith Rovers, it was a bit of a surprise him going there. They have Nade as well with his physical presence and then there are guys who used to play here - Andy Stirling, Robert Thomson and Gregor Buchanan - guys who want to make a point as well. There is a lot to play for."
The results from the next four matches are likely to strongly flavour the Pars final fortunes this season but the manager stressed that it is important not to look too far ahead and focus on the next game:-
"It’s a massive week for us, we know that as a club. We want to do well and keep on winning games. You can see how tight the bottom of the league is and it’s important that we keep on picking up results.
"There is still a lot of games left and it’s not going to be decided over three or four games, it’s going to be between now and the end of the season and for me every one is going to be a cup final. You have to focus on the next game and make sure we get the three points."
Reflecting on the number of league matches that have ended up with honours even, AJ said:-
"If you look back at the games there’s so many that you think we should have taken three points from. That’s were we’ve got to improve on going forward."
The team left Easter Road on Saturday disappointed with a draw against the league leaders, he continued:-
"The good thing is the boys showed a bit of character coming back because two-nil down against the team at the top of the table, it’s a big ask to come back from that. They came back and played with a bit of quality, created chances and scored goals. We were really unfortunate not to win the game."
The manager acknowledged that his team has been playing catch up because of the poor start they had:-
"If you get points in early then it seems to be easier and there’s not as much pressure on every game. We’ve always been playing under pressure the whole season but I think the boys have handled it well, especially the recent run we’ve been on."
With three games in eight days, had the manager plans to fully utilise his squad?
"Everybody has their own opinion on who should play, who shouldn’t play, who should come on as sub. As a manager you do what you thinks right for the team. To be fair we’ve been getting results and I don’t think anyone could complain about the performance of anyone on Saturday. People always complain, that’s the nature of football."
On the injury front Lewis Martin did not train on Thursday and might be out for a couple of weeks. Other than that Ryan Williamson is on the way back and might be training with the first team squad next week.
The manager was asked if he had started thinking about the contracts he might offer come the end of the season, he replied:-
"You’re always looking to keep your best players and the last thing you want to do is lose your best players. As a club we have to focus on the games coming up because they are big games and make sure we get the points and try and catch the team above us. It’s important we put a run together because you never know where it could take you.
"We’ve got a lot of good players and if we never had the start we had I think we would be up there challenging in the top four. It’s a wee bit frustrating but with the nucleus of the squad we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of good players so it would be important to try and keep them."