Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 28th Apr 2016

Manager Allan Johnston was pleased with more signings

Manager Allan Johnston was pleased to have his backroom staff sign up for next season, he commented:-

"They have been a big part in the success that we have had this season. All the backroom staff have and it is great to have them on board. They have put a lot of hard work on and obviously been a big help."

Sandy Clark and Allan Johnston have been together at Queen of the South and at Kilmarnock, John Potter was at Dunfermline when they arrived but the formula has clearly worked. The manager said that it felt natural to involve John Potter:-

"I knew Potts from Queen of the South, he is a great lad and brilliant in the dressing room with the players. He is a good coach and you can see how well the young boys are progressing."

The manager has had an extremely busy week signing players, he gave his thoughts on the players who had committed their near futures to Dunfermline:-

"Guys like Andy Geggan have been a massive part of the success that we have had this year. I think he has improved as the season went on as well. Guys like that are really important to sign.

"Callum Fordyce is another one, he started the season really well and that is why I made him captain. For such a young guy he has a lot of experience. He is a good talker, he is good in the dressing room so we were all disappointed to lose him. It is great to get him on board and hopefully he can get himself back to the level he was at before he got injured."

Callum Fordyce's contract is for three months so that he can prove his fitness and earn an extended deal. The centre back was injured after only ten games, the manager commiserated:-

"It must have been hard but he was the first in the dressing room desperate for the boys to do well and that is the type of characters you need in the dressing room. Obviously he must have been really disappointed at his injury, he must have been down but he never once let that affect the rest of the players. He was always really positive, always giving players advice and making sure that the standards for every player at the club were the way they should. He has been a big influence even though he has not been playing."

The majority of Callum Fordyce's career has been played in the Championship and a fit Dycey could be a great asset when Dunfermline are playing in that league.

"You forget how young he is, he is not an old player, he has done well in that division and I have no doubt that he can get himself back to that level.

"It is a big year for everybody at the club. We want to be successful again, we can't rest on our laurels. We must make sure that we work even harder."

Turning to actual games the manager talked over the huge disappointment in losing the last two games:-

"The easiest thing in the world would be to play the same team that has played week in week out but then you would be left with players who you have not seen play.

"You need to make judgements on players, give them a run of games - one game is not enough to make judgements on people. It is important that they get two or three games to show what they can do and make sure that they are capable of playing at Championship level. It is a step up next year and we want to make sure that every player in the squad is capable of playing in the first team."

The final match of the season will see the Pars presented with the Ladbrokes League One trophy and fans will be turning up in their numbers to hopefully witness Dunfermline defeat Peterhead for the first time this season. Many will be hoping to see that settled side that secured the title for Allan Johnston but asked what will influence his team selection on Saturday he replied:-

"Injuries for a start- Michael Paton still has a little strain so there is no point in even gambling with him. He could probably play but I do not see the point. We are as well just leaving him and making sure that he is fine and 100% when pre season comes along.

"Joe Cardle was struggling for last week just with a wee strain but he is now 100% fit and has been training all week. It is good to have guys like Joe coming back because he has been a massive player for us this year. Not just scoring goals but the amount of chances that he creates and we seem to play better as a team when he is playing.

"Lewis Martin hurt his groin at Stranraer and he is another who is not worth gambling with either. He just needs to make sure that he does work over the summer and gets himself back to the level he was at at the start of the season. That is going to be important."

Are you going to be playing Faissal El Bakhtaoui on Saturday?

"We will have to wait and see. Peterhead have always caused us problems; it is always a close game and they were on a great run up until the last couple of games. I am sure that they will want to get themselves right for the play offs and start getting results again.

"Knowing their manager as well, he is a winner. He will not let their standards drop." The Blue Toon will be without their top goalscorer Rory McAllister who will sit out a one match suspension and AJ responded " he has been a huge player for them when you look at the amount of goals he has scored. He is in contention for Player of the League alongside Faiss, Joe and Greg Spence.

"You want to go out on a high. We are going to have over 5000 fans here and look at all the positives this year, look at all the great displays, you want to make sure that we finish our last game at home getting the trophy after a really good performance and good results."

Looking further ahead the manager confirmed that a pre season friendly has been arranged for Wednesday 29th June at Alloa.

"It is a problem trying to arrange games because everybody wants to keep their pitch in the best shape especially with the League Cup starting so early. We are hoping to have a home game on 9th July.

"The squad will be back on 13th June which is earlier than last year just because of the League Cup. It is important that we start the season well, the last thing we want to do is not give ourselves enough time to prepare right and not be ready.

"The players need to be fit and we need to be ready to play the League Cup games where not so many substitutions can be made. It means the majority of players are going to have to play 90 minutes. The last thing we want to do is pick up injuries in those types of games."

Due to promotion as champions Dunfermline avoid the play offs for the first time in four seasons. The close season will last six weeks and that will offer more rest in comparison to some of the other teams.

"Gary McCall has handed out the close season programme to the players and some of the young ones are going to be in over the summer, a couple of days per week, just to try and get them built up a bit."

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