Dunfermline Athletic

Goal hunt but no score to settle

Friday, 20th Oct 2017

Jason Talbot is hoping to face his former club for the first time since leaving them to join the Pars in July 2015.

During his seven year time at Livingston, Jason Talbot played only five times against Dunfermline - for the record two wins, two defeats and a draw - but he always remembers how the Livingston players enjoyed coming to East End Park:-

"It was coming to a bigger stadium and the games were always tough. I remember coming here on a Tuesday night in my first season at Livingston, we got beat 1-0 but it was a good game to be involved in."

Jason is hoping that the Pars difficult spell of three matches without a win can be brought to an end on Saturday:-

"This always happens in football no matter what team you play for. We started the season brilliantly and after the first quarter we have done really well to be sitting third. We are still in and around the top and Livingston are one of the teams to beat.

"We let ourselves down in the first game we played against them and got ourselves dragged into a battle. If that happens then we have to win and take the three points."

The 32 year old full back is adamant that the pristine playing surface at East End Park gives the home team an advantage.

"I`m not saying the surface at Livingston was bad but it suited them more than it did us. It is tighter and the pitch is not the bowling green that we have here. If we can get the ball down and play I`m sure our quality will shine through and redeem ourselves for the points that we dropped."

Using his knowledge of both clubs Jason selected Danny Mullen and Shaun Byrne as the greatest threats on Saturday:-

"Danny is on top form and I have always liked him. When I was playing at Livingston he was a young boy, he was strong, he was physical and he could finish. He has worked on his game a lot and developed as a player.

"Shaun Byrne is quality, he was here for years and it just doesn`t happen sometimes. He leaves and goes to a club where he plays more or less week in week out since he has been there."

The back four at Palmerston Park last week was back to its previous look and achieved a clean sheet. Jason felt that a settled back four was vital and claimed that having two of the back four away on international duty with Scotland U21s and Northern Ireland did create difficulties:-

"You are asking players to fill in and do a job after not playing for a while or asking someone to play in a position that they would not normally play. To gel automatically just doesn`t happen.

"I think we dealt with it the best we could but against Falkirk it wasn`t going to be, it just wasn`t our day. Last week the back four was back to normal and it was a solid performance and I thought defensively we did great.

"The same goes for Queen of the South, their back four played really well and it was a defensive game with no real quality from both teams going forward."

Jason was up against one of his best friends at Dumfries last week. Former team mate at both Livi and Dunfermline, Callum Fordyce was played at right back meaning the two of them were up against each other on the same side of the park. Jason continued:-

"We played together for eight or nine years. It was a tough injury but he dealt with it. I enjoyed playing against him because of the way he was playing with confidence. I have not seen that in him for two years.

"He is one of my best mates and he has done well to come back the way he did, it was amazing for him but he didn`t really get the rub of the green here. He left and is playing near enough week in week out with Queen of the South.

Jason`s goal scoring is not something that he can be renowned for, in fact he has only hit the net seven times

"I don`t mean this out of disrespect to Livingston because I have such fond memories of being there, but I would love nothing more than scoring a goal at the weekend and take the three points. That would be nice not just for me but for my family and nice for the management.

"There is no bad blood, it is part of the game that players move on especially at this level."

There are hundreds of examples of players scoring against an old team and while Jason Talbot would love to be on the scoresheet, Dunfermline need to be wary of Shaun Byrne.

"Is he a goal threat week in week out? Possibly not but he can strike a ball and there is every possibility that if he picks the ball up in a dangerous area and we give him space then he could hurt us.

"We have to nullify that and we have to minimise the number of crosses into our box because they have scored a lot of goals from crosses and set pieces. I am sure if we can improve that then we can be the better team overall."

It is recognised to be a fiercely competitive league this season but a home win would mean Dunfermline Athletic would leapfrog their opponents. Jason stressed the objective:-

"We want to get as high up the table as we can and if we can leapfrog them then that`s a start. Second top in mid October would be a fantastic place to be. There is not one team capable of running away with it, it is going to be difficult throughout the whole season."

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