Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 16th Mar 2017

Allan Johnston recognises that Saturday`s Championship match at home to Ayr United is a big game for both clubs.

"With St Mirren winning on Wednesday night it means that Ayr United need to come to win the game. That should suit us, we are at home, we want to be on the front foot and go and try and win the game.

"It would be a major boost to win and put pressure on Queen of the South and teams like Dundee United as well.

"We are looking up the way rather than down the way. We will focus on ourselves. Where we want to be is higher up the league to try and catch the teams up above you. If you start worrying about the teams behind you, you give yourselves a lot of problems.

"The team has been doing really well recently, we are on a good run and if we can turn some of these performances into wins we have had enough chances then we will not be far away come the end of the season."

The manager does lament the predominance of draws and the poor start to the league campaign but feels that the performance last Saturday against St Mirren was praiseworthy since despite being bottom of the league they have defeated Hibs and Dundee United either side of the draw with the Pars.

"Since January they have brought in ten players. For us to go there and probably have won the game, it speaks volumes for how the boys actually played. We had the better opportunities, more clear cut chances and we just have to keep playing like that."

The defence also came in for praise for the first shut out since playing Ayr on 7th January:-

"It is important between now and the end of the season that we defend well. Guys like Callum Morris and Lee Ashworth form a good partnership."

The manager watched Ryan Williamson come through an hour of the U20s Development League match against Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. "Hopefully it will not be long before he is fully fit."

Lewis Martin is expected to be joining in training at some point next week. Ben Richards-Everton got good news when he visited the specialist last week and he can start building up his rehab and start doing some running.

The manager is keen to keep the Pars run going - one defeat in 18 - and put some pressure on the teams above.

"It is a big game at the weekend but they are all big games at this stage of the season. Ayr are a team that we know well.

"There has been a big rivalry over the last couple of seasons, they have a few people who used to be here as well - their manager, big Farid El Alagui and Paddy Boyle. There are a lot of connections to the club and that always adds spice to a game when you are playing against boys who have been here before. I am sure they will be well fired up."

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