Manager’s UpdateTuesday, 6th Apr 2021
06/04/21: SC - “It’s a pleasing headache when you look back at the last performance that we’re not having to make too many changes.”
Before heading off to watch Ayr United take on Dundee on Tuesday night, Dunfermline Athletic manager Stevie Crawford gave a brief update on his players’ fitness following Saturday’s draw with league leaders Hearts.
Steven Whittaker missed the matches against Dundee, Raith and Hearts with an ankle injury and Paul Watson also missed Saturday’s game with a niggling injury in the groin / hip area that had already caused him to miss the Scottish Cup tie away to Morton and being subbed in the second half of matches against both Inverness Caley Thistle and Dundee. Stevie confirmed:-
“Both Paul and Steven have done some partial training in the early parts of the week. Scott Banks, who hurt his calf at the weekend, has missed the early parts but we’ve not ruled him out for the weekend. It’s too early in the week for me to say. I can’t rule anyone out, other than Ryan Dow and Lewis Martin.”
The manager was previously quoted as saying:-
“Paul is an experienced pro, he held up his hand and was honest to say that he just couldn’t continue. We will just have to monitor him and see where he is at for the games coming up.”
Even going on Saturday’s performance, Stevie said that he would not necessarily going to go with the same starting XI:-
“It’s a pleasing headache when you look back at the last performance that we’re not having to make too many changes.”
Absentees created the opportunity for what was a very successful start for the Lithuanian centre back, Vytas Gašpuitis, (pictured above) he went straight into the SPFL Team of the Week and his gaffer was delighted with the 26 year old’s contribution:-
“Vytas has done magic, he’s done really well and that was pleasing. Albeit we were missing Paul at the weekend, but the big man has come in and held his own.
“It was a massive positive that we got a clean sheet with the big man coming in for his starting debut. It wouldn’t have been easy for him. He started in Lithuania’s first two games and he was introduced as a substitute in the Italy game.
“I don’t think it’s ever easy coming back from international football in modern-day football when you’re away for two or three games at a time. But credit to the big man, he has worked ever so hard since coming into the building.
“He wasn’t quite up to the levels of fitness because it was their close-season and he was running on empty for a fair part of that second-half. So, great credit to him.”
A further positive looking forward to the match against Ayr United at the weekend is the availability of striker, Craig Wighton (pictured below) who missed out on Saturday because of the loan agreement with Hearts. It is unlikely that Ayr will look forward to coming up against him again. On Boxing Day with Hearts 2-1 down to the Honest Men at Tynecastle, Craig was introduced as a 63rd minute sub and restored the Jambos’ lead with two goals within eleven minutes as they went on to win 5-3.
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