Dunfermline Athletic

Hughes casts his eye over squad

Monday, 29th Nov 2021

A closed doors friendly will give John Hughes the opportunity to assess players

Since taking up his seat in the Jock McDonald Stand to watch Dunfermline win in Inverness John Hughes has seen just 13 players start for Dunfermline and indeed for the two matches when he has been in the dug out he has started the same eleven. Four others have had chances as substitutes but the manager badly wants to assess his whole squad by seeing them in match action. With that in mind a closed doors friendly has been arranged for Tuesday against Hibs.

Hughes intends to start all the subs from Friday night, Rhys Breen will return from injury and Kai Kennedy will get his chance to impress.

“Hopefully one or two of them will stand out” said the gaffer. “We’ve picked the team already and shaped it up. It’s not just a case of turning up and putting on the strips. There’s demands on them. Although it’s a practice match, don’t take it for granted.

“I think it’ll be a young Hibs team, with them playing on Wednesday. Stevie Kean is keen to really test his kids as well, so it’ll be a good test for both teams and then there’s places up for grabs.

“There’s only one way to do it and that is to get yourself in and say, ‘you can’t leave me out’. So, I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to seeing Kai Kennedy. We’ve all heard big things about Kai and everybody is saying he’s got a massive future.”

Since joining Dunfermline from Rangers on a season long loan in July, nineteen year old Kai Kennedy has started six Pars matches and has been used as a substitute five times but he has made only one start since the beginning of October. His absence on Friday was purely for the reason of not making him cup-tied:-

“Rangers didn’t want him cup-tied and I can understand that, I’ve got no qualms whatsoever. The reason being because he’s not getting enough game-time and if he’s not getting enough game-time there’s every chance Rangers will take him back at Christmas time. If he goes back now he’s not cup-tied, I totally understand that.

“It’s up to Kai, I’ve spoken to him and it’s up to him to get himself in the team. He’s certainly a real talented footballer but he needs to do his work in the top half of the pitch.

“We’ve had bounce matches and I’ve noticed he’s away back. I’ve said, ‘I’ll get the ball to you and you’ve got the licence to go and express yourself in the top half of the pitch’. So, hopefully he can start lighting it up and get himself into that first-team. He’s an exciting player, that’s for sure.

“We never brought him here to sit him on the bench, so the challenge is out there. He’s got one or two in front of him that he needs to knock off the pedestal. I’ve told him not to stand on ceremony, he’s here for himself and to do the business and make it hard for us to leave him out.”



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