Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 31st Aug 2017

31/08/17: "It is important that boys are ready when they get the chance to play. It is great opportunity to change the team and put people in.

Allan Johnston qualified his comments by pointing out that the Championship season is only four games old but sitting at the top of the league was certainly very agreeable going into the first international break of the season. He told the media:-

"I`d rather be in this position. The team is playing with a lot of confidence and we just have to make sure that we keep doing the things that we have been doing, keep working as hard, keep passing the ball, keep working as hard in training and in games. The number of goals that we are scoring shows the confidence that the boys are playing with. We are defending well as well."

Dunfermline are the only unbeaten team in the Championship yet they have only ten points. AJ felt that demonstrated just how tight the league is going to be.

"Quite easily six or seven teams could be up there challenging. I think it will be hard to predict results because there is not much between the teams. We just have to take care of ourselves and make sure that we are at it every week giving it our best shot. With the quality that we have got then we should do well."

The results so far have impressed with three wins and 12 goals in the last three league games. The manager felt that his side could keep that going especially given the great form of some of his key players:-

"Guys like Joe Cardle are playing with a lot of confidence, scoring goals for a wide player. Kallum Higginbotham is creating an awful lot of chances and with the way he plays, he is a hard man to play against when he is playing that kind of confidence.

"Look at the strikers that we have got, we have loads of options upfront. If one is off form, injured or suspended there is always somebody there. There is good competition and hopefully we can keep them all fit."

The manager feels that he has improved the competition for places but not just in the striking department:-

"Even defensively, I think Callum Morris and Lee Ashcroft have a really good partnership. You saw that in the second part of last season.

"Ryan Williamson looks as though he is back to his best as well. He is flying up and down the line and defending really well. It is great to see him back to his best.

"We have good competition with guys like Lewis Martin and big Jean Yvette M`Voto waiting for their chance. They just have to make sure that they are training right and when they get the opportunity they go in there and do well as well."

On Saturday two of his subs came off the bench and still got on the scoresheet. Acknowledging the success of Declan McManus and 17 year old Callum Smith, the manager said it was great to have the likes of David Hopkirk, Andy Ryan and Nicky Clark to bring on.

"They are all scoring goals at this moment in time so it`s great to see. I am sure that will push us on in terms of performance and results."

Allan revealed that he will make a lot of changes for the Irn Bru Cup tie at Buckie, as he had done for the first round tie at home to Arbroath.

"It is important that boys are ready when they get the chance to play. It is great opportunity to change the team and put people in. We have a strong squad and anybody who plays should be desperate to do well and push for a place in the first team.

"They did well in the Arbroath. Maybe in the second half we got a bit sloppy. Sometimes that happens when it gets a bit easy. You take your foot off the pedal and don`t play at the same tempo as you usually play at. They have got to learn, got to play and make mistakes but it is important that we get a result and put on a good performance. These boys are challenging the boys who are ahead of them just now and they want to get in the first team."

The Scottish Cup tie at Buckie in November saw the home side score three goals and it was fortunate that the Pars scored five. AJ is well aware that Buckie have averaged three goals per game in the opening seven matches in this season`s Highland League.

"They score goals and they have a lot of goalscorer in their team and they caused us problems the last time. It is a hard place to go, we just have to make sure of our attitude. For these teams it is their cup final and first and foremost, you have to match that and work even harder that what they work."

Chris Angus who scored twice against Dunfermline in November was rested in the Jags 3-0 win over Rothes on Wednesday night but the manager felt that they had not weakened their team much because they have a lot of options upfront.

"We played against them last year, we know all about them. Obviously they had added to that and we will not take it lightly. We just have to start right and put in a good performance."

The team will travel north on Friday and overnight nearby.

"We are trying to prepare right, trying to do it right and hopefully that reflects on our performance on the pitch as well."

Speaking on transfer deadline day the manager admitted that there was scope to bring in players but added:-

"It has to be somebody who is better and can strengthen the team. If we don`t bring in anybody now then we will be looking again in January. You are looking for players who will improve us. We can always bring in a couple of emergency loans if need be but just now we have good competition for places and you don`t want too many players either because it is hard to keep them all happy."

Seventeen year old defender Paul Allan it has been confirmed has gone out on a development loan to Stenhousemuir.



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