Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 8th Dec 2016

08/12/16: AJ - "You can see the position that we are in, it is not good enough we should be a lot higher in the league.

Allan Johnston acknowledged that Morton are the Championships form team. Only Hibs and Dundee United have scored more goals than Morton and so Saturday`s opponents are likely to provide as tough a test as any faced this season:-

"We have been looking at all the goals that they have been scoring in the league and two thirds of them have come from free kicks or corners.

"These are coming from the delivery from guys like Ross Forbes and obviously they have guys who attack it really well. We are going to have to defend set pieces really well and we are going to have to play at our very best to get a result because they are on a really rich vein of form."

Last Saturday`s point was not enough to prevent Dunfermline Athletic dropping down to ninth place in the league and St Mirren`s win over Queen of the South meant that the gap between them and the Pars in the place above them has been reduced to six points after both have completed 15 matches of the campaign. The manager was philosophical saying:-

"They were going to win at some point, we have just got to focus on ourselves. Look at last week, we were really unfortunate, it was never a sending off. It was never a penalty and we still managed to miss the two penalties after making life really difficult for ourselves.

"We have to pick ourselves up and make sure that we are really up for it. It will be a massive game and we need the fans to get right behind us. You can see the position that we are in, it is not good enough we should be a lot higher in the league.

"There is an opportunity in the games that we have got over the next month or so against teams round about us. If we win them, you close the gap and start to put pressure on teams like Queen of the South who have got Falkirk at the weekend. We play them next.

"Two wins from that then you start to put pressure on everybody. That is where we want to be, we want to be progressing up the league so it is a massive six weeks where we need to get results."

The red card shown to Lewis Martin was harsh but the manager has consulted referee`s boss John Fleming and concluded that it cannot be appealed.

"It is difficult getting a man sent off, losing a goal and playing 45 minutes more or less with ten men. Then we are going to get double punished because he is going to miss the next game as well. It is a lot of punishment for a mistake."

After missing two penalties in the space of a minute the manager thinks that Kallum Higginbotham probably won`t be stepping up to take the next one.

"I don`t think that he could have hit the second one any better, it was an amazing save. Look at their keeper`s record in penalties, it is an incredible record that he has got. It is just our luck that it didn`t go in. You have to take these opportunities in the position that we are in and I am sure that the boys will learn from it and be fired up for the weekend."

Ryan Williamson played 60 minutes in the Under 20s on Wednesday night. David Hopkirk has been training and Gavin Reilly has just started back in training. Andy Geggan will still be missing and Ben Richards-Everton is out long term. The squad still provides good options to choose from but with Lewis Martin suspended the defence will be reformed again. AJ continued:-

"It is not for the first time, it has been one of those seasons. We have not really had a consistent run of picking the same players. Sometimes that happens and you could see that the boys that have come in like Callum Fordyce, he has done really well. You need guys like that coming in and showing their experience, quality and stepping up to the mark."

Commenting on a question regards John Potter being linked with the vacant manager`s position at East Fife, Allan Johnston replied:-

"I said before when St Mirren were interested that we wanted to keep Potts. He is a big part of what we do here, not just with the 20s but with the first team as well. We wouldn`t encourage him to leave, I`d imagine that he would want to stay."

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