Manager previews Greenock Morton

Manager James McPake gave his views ahead of Saturday’s home match against Morton in the cinch Championship. He said that the week had been good and he was relieved to report no new injuries and an improved availability list:-

“Paul Allan is back training, Andrew Tod is back and the lads have trained pretty well.  Deniz trained from Monday onwards, he’s had a good week, he’s looking sharp actually, looking good. 

“Bene, we’re not quite sure. Breeny will be another three to four weeks away, I think. Kane got surgery yesterday on his knee. It went very well. A wee tidy-up in his meniscus. We’ll get him right over the next few days and then we’ll be able to assess it from there, how long it’ll be.”

Above: Alex Jakubiak and Owen Moffat v Queen’s Park

New Faces

While absences through injuries has made life difficult for the management team, James is delighted with the way the three most recent arrivals – Ben Summers, Alex Jakubiak and Owen Moffat – have integrated into the team:-

“They’re good players, when you’ve got a good group and good players, it’s easier to do that and for your sessions to work. Those three – Ben, Alex and Owen – are certainly that, they’re three good players with good footballing brains – I know that’s a term that gets thrown about.  It’s probably easier to say they understand what you’re asking them to do. I’ve been really delighted with those three. Three very good players that have been added to the group.”

With Kyle Benedictus, Rhys Breen, Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Matty Todd all returning at some point, James indicated that it is unlikely that there will be any further additions to his playing squad for the time being:-

“I wouldn’t imagine so, we are happy. If everyone is fit, it’s a very strong squad. You add Andrew Tod into that as well because he’s been excellent. We certainly missed him last week, he’d have been another that could have been on from the start or would have come on to the game and helped us.  Having him back, having Paul back, that beefs us up a little, but then you’ve still got the four that are out. You add them into the mix, it’s a strong, competitive squad, in our opinion. We’re done looking now.”

Start to season

With two wins, two draws and one defeat, Dunfermline have taken eight points from their opening five league matches. James felt happy with the start to the campaign:-

“Yeah. Unless we’d lost every game or not picked up a win yet, I’d probably say no. But even if we’d won the games I believe we should have won – Dundee United and Raith Rovers – it could have been better.

“Airdrie was a very tight game. Dave keeps reminding me because that’s the game I say maybe we didn’t deserve to win, but he’s got a different take on it. He believes we certainly did deserve to win. That’s why I think it’s important we take it one day at a time. You look over a period, the first win of the season, flag day – I don’t think we should have won it. 

“It is probably because we did win it that I have not looked over it too much and picked the bones out of it. I know you should, you should be consistent but it’s human nature when you lose a game, you spend a lot more time on that finding faults. When you try and fine the faults in the Raith Rovers performance there weren’t many. First half the team shape wasn’t great which we covered after that. The goal we lost wasn’t great but other than that we created enough chances to win the game  I believe. 

“I’m happy with the performances. I do still believe that’s the main thing. If you can consistently perform then you give yourself a much better chance of picking up wins and points when you maybe shouldn’t win the game.

“At Inverness for example late on we looked really fluent and good but first half it was just a poor game of football from both teams in my opinion. That’s a game where you come away thinking a draw was probably a fair result. 

“Other that that I’ve been happy enough. It still hurts me that we couldn’t hang on for 10 seconds and come away from Tannadice with three points. So there’s always bits but that’s human nature in football. You always highlight the negatives but there have been lots of positives.”

Last Saturday’s match against Queen’s Park saw a new look back three with Aaron Comrie, Sam Fisher and Ewan Otoo making up the defence. James admitted that without Kyle Benedictus and Rhys Breen it was a test for the adaptability of the team:-

“That was a test last week because we thought about changing to a back four. It was easy to do that – we probably looked more suited to go with a back four. It is not to say that we are scared of doing that but we just believe this system really suits us and the work we have done on it gives us the option of two strikers upfront or the two number tens in behind the one striker as well. You have more fire power up there and with the pace and power that we have got, in the top end of the pitch in particular, then I think it is a system that suits us better with the personnel that we have got.”

Morton

Saturday’s visitors Morton are on the road east for the second week running and after three consecutive league defeats they turned around their bad luck with a 1-1 draw at Tannadice. James believes that result will have Dougie Imrie’s side confident again for this weekend:-

“I think they will be coming here on a high, fancying themselves to come here and win after their good point against Dundee United. I said we were gutted by the point we took there but we were at the time. On paper any time you go to Tannadice and get a point, it is a good point, and a good point away from home.

“For them it was a good point and a good performance actually. They came away probably gutted they never got the win as well. It will be a tough game, he has got his side really well set up. He has added some experience with Power and Broadfoot. Robbie Crawford is a really good player, a player I do really like so they have real threats and it will be a tough game.”

Suggesting to the Pars gaffer that his next opponents have a reputation for being physical, direct and streetwise, he underlined:-

“You need to be that. That’s not something that I’d be too offended by if that’s what my group was known as. In terms of direct I think they play that a lot more than they used to but if you get three points on a Saturday is there a right or wrong way? Maybe fans will see it differently but when you are in a result driven business you need to be picking up results. They have been doing that. 

“It is not because I don’t pay too much attention to how a team plays because I certainly do but I don’t think you can really judge on reputation. Every team has their own way and you have to find a system that suits your personnel, so if it works for them then there will be no negative talk from me regards how teams play or what reputations they have got. It will certainly be a tough game, we know that.”

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