Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 11th Aug 2016

11/08/16: AJ - "We have to put demands on ourselves to be successful and try and beat teams like this.

Despite just winning by the odd goal in seven, Allan Johnston felt that the outcome looked nothing other than a victory in the opening league match against Dumbarton last Saturday:-

"We were so far ahead. It looks close when you look at the scoreline 4-3 but if we had taken our chances we quite easily have scored six or seven. I don`t think we deserved to lose three goals either.

"I was really pleased with the performance especially with it being the opening game. It sets you up nicely because the longer you wait for a win creates pressure. It gives the boys a bit of confidence stepping up to the new league."

Watch Allan Johnston comment to Pars TV

Measuring a promoted team up against their new opponents is an experiment and results give an idea of what they will be up against. Dumbarton finished just above the play off places last season so it was important in comparison terms to defeat Stevie Aitken`s part timers:-

"It is going to be tough, even when you look at the League Cup results - I was at Morton on Tuesday night. They beat Hamilton with a really good performance. Dundee United beat Partick Thistle, Queen of the South beat Hibs and it is incredible how tight this league is going to be. There is quality in this league and it is going to be very very competitive. We are going to have to be at our very best to compete."

Saturday`s match away to Hibs is a big step up in opponent and it is likely that punishment will be greater for making an error.

"You just need to look at the free kicks in our games. It is incredible some of the free kicks that have gone in against us recently. Hopefully we can stop giving away cheap free kicks and defend them better - basics like following in. These are things that we can improve on."

The manager pointed out the positives from the Dumbarton match:-

"There was a lot of good play, we passed the ball really well and it was the tempo that we like to play at. It sets it up for the game at the weekend."

Referencing budget and size of club, Allan Johnston singled out Hibs and Dundee United as title favourites.

"The two of them are more or less Premiership teams so we know that it is going to be a tough test. But these are the games that the players want to play in, step up to that and play at that level. If we play like we did on Saturday and don`t give teams time to pass the ball the way they can, then we can give them problems as well."

Not just because of the Edinburgh Festival but on the back of over 10000 season ticket sales, Easter Road should have a good atmosphere on Saturday. AJ will be stressing to his team that they need to start well because Hibs can be expected to kick the game off quick especially given their disappointing result on Tuesday night.

"By all accounts they played really well and should probably have scored five or six but came out of the game with a 3-1 defeat. I am sure Neil Lennon will have them fired up."

Pressure will be on the home side too given the expectations for success of their large home support. AJ stressed Neil Lennon`s comments that Hibs have got to win the league this year.

"We have to put demands on ourselves to be successful and try and beat teams like this. That is going to be the challenge."

Following his added time red card against Dumbarton, central defender Lee Ashcroft is suspended and he is likely to be a big miss.

"We have a couple of other options, we are quite lucky and this is an opportunity for somebody to come in and play there. Whether it is Jason Talbot coming in, Callum Fordyce or Lewis Martin coming in at centre half. There are loads of options there."

Callum Fordyce has worked hard on his comeback and with his contract expiring at the end of the month, he will be keen to make an impression at first team level. The manager continued:-

"Callum has been back in contention over the last few weeks. He is back playing but we will have a chat with him and see what is the best way going forward. He has done well in the reserve games that he has played.

"Big Nat (Wedderburn) is going to be out, he has gone over on his ankle and will probably going to be out a couple of weeks by the looks of it. There. We have a couple of different ones off this week with illness, it is spreading its way around the club including myself!

"The majority were back training today so hopefully they will be fine by the weekend."

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