Manager on ThursdayThursday, 13th Oct 2016
13/10/16: AJ - "They are all special games, the main thing is winning - that is the priority to give the fans the bragging rights ....
Allan Johnston recalls Derby matches as the best games to play in and he is certain that there will be an edge to the game when he takes his Dunfermline side to the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday.
"These are games that you always look forward to playing in. There will be a good atmosphere and they are always played at a tempo. As a player it is one of the first fixtures that you look for in the calendar."
As a player Allan Johnston figured in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, Tyne & Wear, Tyne & Tees and Wear & Tees derbies and he wants to continue what he feels is a good record in them.
"They are all special games, the main thing is winning - that is the priority to give the fans the bragging rights on the Monday morning.
"Falkirk will be a hard place to go, there will be a great atmosphere and I think that there will be a big crowd as well by all accounts. Hopefully we can get the win for our fans."
The manager attended the Irn-Bru Cup match between Falkirk and Ayr United and even at Somerset Park that Friday night, the travelling support were singing about Dunfermline. He is no doubt as to what this first meeting of the season means.
"That is all you could hear the Falkirk fans shouting. It has been building up over the last couple of weeks. We just need to remember that we are there to play football and to win the game.
"Falkirk have achieved a lot over the last few years. They have been successful, consistently over the last three or four weeks. They have a good mix of youth and experience in their team.
"We are looking forward to going there, we have a lot of good players and boys who have played there as well. We are looking forward to going back."
Saturday sees the return to league business after the Irn-Bru Cup win over Queens Park. The manager added:-
"It is always nice to win and they have picked up over the last few weeks but we know how important every game in this league is. There are no easy games but it would be nice to put a run together, start working our way up the table and putting pressure on the team`s above us.
"We think that we capable of still challenging up towards the top of the league but we need to start picking up results consistently week in week out. Hopefully it is another result on Saturday."
In Kallum Higginbotham and Farid El Alagui Dunfermline`s squad has players who have played for the opposition in the past. AJ feels that Farid is now getting back to form after missing pre season and periods due to injury over the last couple of seasons.
"You can see the quality that he has got. He changed the game for us when he came on just with his presence. He is good in the air, he holds the ball in and is a really good professional as well. He is good in the dressing room as well and he has come in and fitted in really well.
"We just have to try and look after and hopefully we can get the most out of him keeping on producing these types of performances week in week out. That is what counts at the end of the day."
Kallum Higginbotham also came off the bench on Saturday in the match against Queens Park:-
"When he came on I thought he was different class. One thing about him is that desire to play which is brilliant to see. Sometimes you get frustrated when you are not playing but he has been working really hard to get back into the team and I am sure that he will get his chance again."
On the injury front the manager admitted that there were a couple of players nursing niggles but everybody wants to play and these will just have to be assessed nearer the game.