Manager Previews Inverness CT

Dunfermline Athletic manager James McPake is gearing up for a challenging league encounter against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and despite a recent setback against league leaders Dundee United, he remains focused on the positives and is optimistic about his team’s potential.

After a hard-fought 2-1 defeat to Dundee United, McPake stressed the importance of evaluating the team’s performance irrespective of the result. He acknowledged the pain of losing as a group but highlighted the resilience and hard work of his players. James spoke candidly about the team’s mentality, saying, “Any game you lose, you suffer as a group. The one thing that we speak about frequently is the performance. We look back on the performance win, lose or draw.”

The manager found solace in the fact that football provides an opportunity for redemption each week. “The beauty in football is there is always a game the next week. We’ve prepared well and we’re ready for it,” James asserted, indicating his team’s readiness for the upcoming clash.

Looking ahead to the match against Inverness, the manager outlined his approach, stating, “Against Inverness, we’ll approach it the way we do every game. We’ll turn up and try to perform. If we get the performance right, then we believe we can get a lot out of the game.” He expressed confidence in his players’ potential for improvement:-

“If they keep performances to the levels that we have at times then we’ll get our fair share of results.  They’re eager to learn, they’re eager to get better. The more we work with them, we’ll see the improvements. I think we’re better now than we were this time last year, and that’s the aim for the football club is to develop the squad and the players and keep making them better. There’s a lot more to come, that’s not just the players that’s us as well.”

New Caley Thistle Manager

Noting the opposition’s new manager, Duncan Ferguson, James acknowledged Ferguson’s impressive track record as both a player at Dundee United, Everton and Newcastle United and as a manager:-

“He was a top, top player and I really admire the job he’s done since he’s gone in there as well. Billy Dodds did a very good job as well, getting to a play-off final and the Scottish Cup final. They obviously had a poor start to this season and then they’ve not been beaten since Duncan’s come in, so the job he’s done is impressive.

“Am I surprised? No. If you look at the level he played at, I know that doesn’t mean a lot in terms of coaching or management credentials, but what it does mean is he’s worked under some top, top managers.  He’s experienced big games and big occasions as a player and an assistant manager.

“I know of him as a person because I played with Lee Carsley, who spent a lot of time with him at Everton, and Lee had a lot of respect for him, like I think everybody did in the game.” James shares that respect but will be concentrating on his own team’s performance rather than speculating about the opposing manager’s tactics:

“I’ve not thought about what he’ll be like in the dugout. I managed against Steven Gerrard and Ange Postecoglou, and I didn’t think about what they were going to be like on the touchline.”

Player Availability

James provided an update on goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet, who was injured in the match against Dundee United after a clash with Louis Moult. “He was concussed. There’s a standard guideline of 12 days or so, but if you dig deeper into that it’s symptomatic. We would never take a risk with any player no matter what the game was,” James explained, underscoring the importance of player welfare.

The manager revealed that centre backs Kyle Benedictus and Rhys Breen are still “weeks and weeks away,” while Michael O’Halloran is back in the squad. Ben Summers, despite his eagerness to continue playing, is unavailable for this Saturday’s match, with James prioritising the player’s well-being and long-term career success. It is hoped that the nineteen year old who is on-loan from Celtic will be available for next week’s cup tie against Raith Rovers.

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