Manager Previews Kilmarnock

James McPake explained that he was awaiting scan results on Matty Todd’s ankle. The 22 year old sustained an ankle injury in Tuesday night’s win over Annan Athletic and the manager said:-

“He was scanned this morning so we will know more tonight or tomorrow. The x-rays were all clear but it needs an MRI to see the extent if any and what the damage is. It is a disappointing one for the boy.  I have seen him about and spoken to him on the phone but he is in the same kind of place we are, you don’t really know. It could just be a twisted ankle, it could be more serious, I am guessing at the minute to be honest.”

James was philosophical about a player getting injured and being forced off. 

“That is why you have got a squad. I have been in that position as a player and the waiting time is the hard bit. There are a lot worse people out there waiting on results, it is not even two days since it happened so we will have the results tonight or tomorrow.”

With two points from the first game at Stark’s Park and three from the home match against Annan Athletic, the start in the Viaplay Cup has been decent agreed James:-

“I don’t think we were great at Raith on Saturday. That was disappointing but we showed good character and we dug in well. I think Tuesday night was pretty comfortable for us but you still need to win those games, I have been in positions where these games become really tricky. So credit to the players for that. 

“In both games we have seen good bits in different ways. At Raith we showed that we could still rely on defending our box and being really hard to break down when a team is on top which they were for large spells of that game. 

“On Tuesday night we showed a bit more in the attacking area, certainly from the Raith game but more so than last season, we just looked pretty mobile and dynamic at the top end of the pitch. The team shape was good on Tuesday night as well so there is lots to take out of it. We are getting fitter and better in that sense as well. Now we have a Premiership test coming on Saturday which we are looking forward to.

“It is going to be a different test from Annan. Derek McInnes is a fantastic manager, he has been for years. We played them last year, they were good and they did enough to stay in the league. Derek will be looking to build on that this season.

“It is a cup tie and a game that they will be desperate to win, we are desperate to win. Hopefully there will be a good crowd in here and when you are at this club whoever you are playing, and at the minute the only time that we face Premiership opposition is in one of the cups but it is a game where we want to go out and perform. If we do that, like we do every other week, we will get a positive result.”

James agreed that the outcome of the match against Kilmarnock might well determine qualification for the next stage of the cup. He replied:-

“Potentially yes – for us and for Kilmarnock. Both teams will be looking at it that way. Eight points would have been enough last season. We can get eight even if we lose on Saturday or if we win on Saturday and lose on Tuesday night. 

“I’m not sure if eight points will be enough this year, it would have been last season. Like the other two games they all have massive bearings when it comes to this cup. I have never played in it in this format, I have managed in it quite a lot so I have experience of it. All we can look at is performing and getting a positive result on Saturday. Forget about what’s ahead.

“Nine points would be enough but this cup is weird. I have not looked into it with some of the strange results. Does it help with Dundee United losing, St Johnstone losing- normally the Premier League teams are the ones that get the nine, ten, eleven, twelve points.  Normally you get five or six of them in that position.  If I think back over the years, nine is normally enough but that can change.

“St Johnstone can only get nine, obviously United can’t but there are teams in there who can only get nine points, and good teams at that. Goal difference will come into that. We will just concentrate on performing and I believe if we do that we have a chance. The focus has to be on the performance and trying to get a result on Saturday.”

Looking at availability for Saturday, Chris Hamilton will return from suspension and Michael O’Halloran is good. James confirmed that he will train again tomorrow and hopefully he will be involved on Saturday.

Paul McGowan is still training with the Dunfermline squad but cannot play as a trialist in the Viaplay Cup. James added:-

“He’s been great, actually. Again, we could be doing with having that opportunity to play him – and certainly other ones as well but he’s been great round about the place. Obviously he knows the boys as well, but I don’t think it would have mattered if Paul knew them or not, that’s the type of character he is.  He’ll have a few options, I’m sure.”

Asked about media speculation surrounding former St Johnstone player David Wotherspoon, James revealed what he knew about it:-

“I got a message yesterday from somebody asking if he was at the game. If he was at the game then I knew nothing about it. He’s a good player, who I obviously know from my time at Hibs – and Dave knows him.  He’s just back from international duty with Canada as well. He’s not in here anyway.

“It was news to me yesterday. I asked Dave if he’d invited him to the game and he said, no. That’s genuinely as much as I know about it, there’s been nothing else whatsoever.

“We have good quality throughout the squad. but we’re always looking, trying to get better and to add to the squad where we feel it needs it. What we won’t do is react because we have a couple of injuries. That’s not the way things are going and that’s not the way we want to work.  We want to add people that can help this football club for the next few years.  If it’s somebody who is 32, 33, 34… whatever, and we think they can add to this squad then we’ll do our utmost to sign that player.”

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