Manager previews Arbroath

Ensuring a good performance against Arbroath on Saturday is a clear priority for Dunfermline manager James McPake but he feels that the poor result against Partick Thistle is not one to pour over, he conceded:-

“I have lost more games in football than I have won so I’m certainly used to that feeling. You cannot dwell on it and we are consistent with that with the players. There have been some great performances and some great victories, you enjoy that moment in the dressing room after a victory but it is all forgotten about come the Sunday or the Monday when you are back in at work preparing for a midweek game or a following Saturday game. It stings, it hurts, of course it does but you have to get over it and they have been great, they have been lively.”

Management and players went over the normal post match analysis and all agreed that the performance was not at a level that anyone will accept:-

“The staff, the players and certainly the supporters are not going to accept performances like that. That’s what they are really looking to put right on Saturday- the level of performance rather than going out to beat whatever team is in front of us. You can perform really well and lose games, you can perform poor and win games, you can perform poor and get what you got on Saturday which was what we deserved out of that game. The players know that, we know that and everybody that has seen the game knows that. 

“The important thing wasn’t to dwell on it, wasn’t to over react because every single player in that dressing room has given us a hell of a lot over the past seventeen months as have the ones who have come in later. We are not going to overreact and start asking what are we doing wrong here. We have just got our heads down to work on getting back to a level of performance. That’s still the big belief.  If we get that right the results will be more positive than not.”

Dunfermline defeated Arbroath 5-1 in James’ only Pars encounter with Dick Campbell’s Red Lichties but he ruled that out of having any bearing on Saturday’s match:-

“That was a good night but I would be a hypocrite if I say that we can look back at that to give us a good start in this game or Arbroath will be coming worried.  I cannot go Saturday to Saturday thinking about performances let alone last December.  It was a good performance up there but on the flip side before last Saturday Arbroath had won five out of five against Championship opposition. They are in a good place and they have a very good and experienced manager.”

James is hopeful that the recent bad Firhill experience is a one off and he preferred to look at it in the context of the season so far:-

“If that had happened in the first game, we would be sitting wondering ‘what do we do here,’ or if it had happened, happened and happened. We will see performances like that again but it’s our jobs, as coaches and players to not show that type of performance. 

“Everybody was off it and we never had any real answers either. We have got to hold our hands up because could we have changed shape? Possibly, we were limited in terms of personnel but the weeks before that we never used that as an excuse. That team was great the week before minus Ben (Summers) but when you can bring Alex Jakubiak in for Ben then you still expect a level of performance. 

“I think everybody had an off day and that makes it harder to accept as long as we can go and make it right. Putting it right doesn’t mean going out and win, putting it right is getting to that performance level that people can accept. I know if you lose 1-0 on a Saturday fans will boo you off the pitch and they have every right.  Deep down if they see everybody fighting for every ball, everybody running working hard, giving it everything, they will know that they are trying the right things. The players worked hard on Saturday there were times in the game where we were sloppy, we were too big in distances in our team and we didn’t press with real purpose but that was everybody. If there is any comfort, it is that. 

“If I’m honest we were standing on the side thinking ‘would a change of shape help here?’  That maybe didn’t help us because we were thinking that we had been so good in that shape. In hindsight I suppose after the first goal we should possibly have changed shape.”

The manager gave an update on on loan Celt, Ben Summers (pictured below) who was pulled out of the squad on the eve of last weekend’s match:-

“He is touch and go. He has a minor thigh injury that we have had two different scan reports on. One person is saying that he is okay to play, the other person saying no he is not. We have had it cleared up, it is minor. We will give him to the very last minute but if he doesn’t make this weekend, we will definitely have him back by the Ayr United game.”

As for the rest of his squad, Matty Todd and Kane Ritchie-Hosler are still in recuperation stage but James was able to relate:-

“For as bad as it is injuries wise, today was a good training session. Breeny trained well, Paul Allan trained brilliant after being out with bone bruising in his knee. Andrew Tod won’t be available, he is seeing a specialist. Deniz obviously was on the bench last week.

“Bene won’t make this weekend but come the Ayr United game it will be seven weeks. He was told that he would be back in six weeks but Bene wanted to make that four. He is one that you have to take extra special care with because he will tell you that he is right when he is not.”

On the positive side Deniz Mehmet did well in the reserve game at Dumfries on Tuesday. James was pleased for both his goalkeeper and the young reserve team:-

“It was a good result actually with a young squad going down there. We take reserve football seriously, it is about development but after a couple of defeats you want to win. I believe that they were young as well. To be fair Queen of the South asked to move the game but Deniz wanted to play and the game went ahead. The Sutherland brothers were excellent, Miller Fenton got another game under his belt and getting to play with Deniz was a great experience for the likes of Liam Hoggan, Ewan McLeod and Jake Sutherland. That’s great for their development as well.“

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