Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 8th Sep 2016

08/09/16: "Hopefully by bringing in the calibre of strikers that we have brought in will help us

Allan Johnston first made comment on his latest signing, 31 year old striker Farid El Alagui. The French Moroccan joined after being released by Hibs at the end of last season and the Pars boss is hopeful that the former PFA First Division player of the year can get back the form that saw him score 27 goals in 43 appearances for Falkirk five seasons ago.

"He has trained everyday, played a few games, he is still not 100% match fit because he has not had a lot of games. He missed a bit of pre season as well but he gives us that presence upfront. He was prepared to come in and sign a short term deal to prove that he is worthy of a longer contract.

"He has scored goals throughout his career at a good level, he has made and created chances. When you look at the strikers that we have got, he is something totally different. He has a physical presence and somebody who needs to get his career back on track as well so he has a lot to prove.

"You can sense when talking to him that he still has that hunger and desire to do well.

"The club doesn`t want to stand still, we don`t want to be just making up the numbers in the Championship. We want to try and be successful, we want to push on this year. You can see that with the signings that we have made. Guys like Nicky Clark as well, John Herron coming in - all boys with good ability.

"I have worked with Nicky before, he scored a lot of goals before he moved to Rangers. He scored goals there as well so it is great when you have so many goal scorers in the team.

"We have Moff who has done well for us as well so that is four strikers now who can all score goals."

The manager highlighted that a number of the players coming in had missed part of pre season, John Herron being the latest in that category but he added:-

"Hopefully it won`t take them long to catch up. John played on Tuesday night in the 20s, so did Farid, it won`t take them long before they are all totally match fit.

"I am really happy with the squad that we have assembled. It is really strong and we have depth in every position with players who can come in and play. It is great to have that competition and I am sure it will push us on."

Saturday`s opponents Dundee United have targeted going straight back up to the Premiership and AJ claimed that United has made top signings.

"Tony Andreu is obviously a class player. They have brought in a couple of centre halves that I don`t know much about but they have quality throughout their whole squad. It is more or less all Premier League players.

"It will be a great test but these are the games that you want to play in, there will be a good atmosphere. Obviously we didn`t come out on top in the last game, they did really well in their last game so hopefully we can turn that around.

"We need to get back to winning games. It was great last week to score five goals with a really positive performance. We have to take that into league games. We know that they are going to be tough games, look at the games against Queen of the South and Raith Rovers - there was nothing between the teams. We could quite easily have got points but we need to win games like that. Hopefully by bringing in the calibre of strikers that we have brought in will help us do that."

Dundee United defeated Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup just six weeks ago but the manager stressed that this Saturday will be a different game for both teams.

"They have brought players in since then. In the last game van der Velden was different class but we know a bit more about him now and need to make sure that we close him down. You cannot allow him to get on his right foot for shots. You can see how much of an impact he had on the game. He has been a really good signing for them.

"But we have quality players and we must make sure that we make them defend. We probably didn`t do that enough in the last game."

The manager confirmed that keeper Sean Murdoch was back in training but felt that he was a bit short of being in a position to compete for a place in the team.

"He just started at the beginning of the week but it is great to see him do a bit of handling. We just have to build that up but obviously great to have somebody like that coming back because he was a big player for us last year."

David Hopkirk will still be missing but is expected to return to training next week. The manager added:-

"Once we have got everybody back we have a big squad and good players in every position so it is looking good."



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