Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 4th May 2017

04/05/17: AJ - "I think this season has been a big step forward and we just have to finish on a high. Take the momentum from this season into next and keep on improving every year."

Allan Johnston hopes to end the season on a high by securing a fifth placed finish in the league. Standing between them and that achievement are their opponents Queen of the South who require a win over the Pars to leapfrog them. The Manager told the website:-

"Now that we have not managed to reach the top four obviously fifth would still be a good finish for our first season back in the Championship. That would then give us something to aim for next season something to try and improve on because as a club we want to keep on progressing every year.
"I think this season has been a big step forward and we just have to finish on a high. Take the momentum from this season into next and keep on improving every year."

The Manager is aware that Queen of the South have not lost to Dunfermline this season and that travelling to Palmerston Park always means a tough game.

"It is one to look forward and it is where I started off my managerial career. The games have been really tight and there is not much between the teams. I am sure that it will be another tight game but probably they have to come and open up.

"A couple of times when we have played them they have sat in and defended whereas they need a win. Hopefully that makes for a more exciting game for both teams. Hopefully we can score the goals that we want to go away happy and finish the season on a high.

"We have been challenging along with Queen of the South for the last month or two for fifth place. To finish in fifth in our first year back in the Championship would be a good start. Our targets have got to be higher again next year.

"We have got to try and sign the majority of the players who are here because they have shown over the second half of the season especially that we have good players who can compete at this level.

"I don`t think any team has been miles ahead of us but if we can add a couple of players that can make the difference, just that little bit of quality then hopefully that can improve us."

Dunfermline have not been far off in the majority of the matches in this season`s Championship. There has been the occasional match where the Manager agrees the team has not played well but that happens to every team. He claimed that it could not be said that there is a massive gulf between the Pars and the other teams. He continued:-

"We definitely need to find extra quality to try and get us challenging because when you look at the top three teams, we did not pick up a lot of points against these teams. That is what we need to improve on.

"Games against Dundee United and Falkirk have been really tight and we could quite easily say that we deserved something out of the Hibs games as well rather than just draws.

"As a club we are going in the right direction but we need to progress, keep on getting better and we want to finish this season first and foremost on a high and take that into next season."

Asked for his highlight from the 2016-2017 season AJ revealed that he felt it was in the way that his team came back from a not so great start to the league campaign:-

"Quite easily we could have been where teams like St Mirren, Raith Rovers and Ayr United are because once you are down there it is hard, really difficult. The boys showed a lot of character to come back, put the results together to get us challenging for fifth place."

As far as selection for Saturday is concerned Allan confirmed that he would be without the injured John Herron, Callum Morris, Andy Geggan and Ben Richards-Everton who has been training, but it was just too early for him to return on the 20s match on Tuesday.

Although Saturday is the final match of the season, the manager`s work does not stop there.

"There is a lot of hard work ahead. A lot of phone calls and talking to different people. Hopefully it pays off, we manage to get the players that we are targeting and re-sign the majority of the boys who are here as well.

"There are a lot of tough decisions to make, that is part and parcel of football nowadays. You have to make decisions and you make them in the best interests of the club."

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