Dunfermline Athletic

Assistant Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 20th Oct 2022

20/10/22: DM - “We make sure the players know and they`ll always be shown a video before we play the opposition to make sure there`s no excuses

It was Dave Mackay who spoke this Thursday lunchtime. He told the website that the excitement from Tuesday night’s win had subsided and the focus has switched to taking on Stewart Petrie’s Montrose side:-

"We`re obviously delighted to win any game of football but you know there`s another game coming very soon after. You enjoy that night and then you start preparing again - doing video stuff on Montrose from yesterday. So making sure we`re prepared for Saturday`s game as well as we can. Getting the players back out on the pitch today and getting the legs moving.

“There are a few tired bodies because, to be fair, the amount of work they`re putting into games at the moment is incredible. So we have to make sure we look after them. It`s also important to get the legs going again, you`re not resting off them too much."

Although top of the league Dave discussed just how important it was to be respectful of opponents despite them possibly being more concerned about Dunfermline:-

"Everybody will look at things differently. Some people do a lot of opposition analysis, it`s something that I`ve always done loads of. I did it for a while when I was at Aberdeen, I did it when I was at Dundee - that was part of my role and I`ve taken it into here. I always make sure we know what the opposition are going to bring, whether it`s set plays or style of play.

“We make sure the players know and they`ll always be shown a video before we play the opposition to make sure there`s no excuses and we know how a team is going to play - the majority of the time.

“We`ll be well prepared for Montrose on Saturday, and it`s a game we have to be prepared for because they`re a very good side. They`ve been in this league for a few years now and they`ve always been near the top end. They`re sitting fourth at the minute, so we`ll be taking this game very seriously, as will they."

Montrose will be at home and their record there is three wins and two draws from six matches. They can be expected to come at you?

"They will do. The last time we played them here was a really tight game as well, they played some really good stuff that day. It`s probably a game that could have gone either way. We managed to nick it at the end. We know, especially on their home patch, I think they`ve only lost once and it was to FC Edinburgh this year - but they`re very good at home, it`s a small, tight pitch and it might suit them the way they play.

“They`re aggressive, they get in your face, but they`ve also got some really good footballers in the middle-to-final third, they can cause teams problems. We`ll make sure we`re at it. If we`re at it we always know we`ve got a chance of winning any game in this league."

Dave Mackay confirmed that following his hamstring injury picked up against Clyde, Lewis McCann would be getting a scan today:-

“We’ll find out the full extent of it. Hopefully it`s not as bad as we first feared. Don`t expect him back any time soon, but we`re hoping it`s a grade 2 injury rather than a grade 3, which could keep him out for a long time. He seems better today, he`s walking about better. So hopefully it`s not as bad as first feared."

Dave also gave an update on the two other sidelined players, Paul Allan and Kevin O’Hara:-

"Paul Allan is coming back, he`s not far away from joining in full training now. He`s at the final stages of his rehab with the physio Tommy Scanlon. Probably another week before he can join in training, which is a big bonus because before his injury Paul was excellent for us. He`ll be a big addition back into the squad.

“Kevin O`Hara is still a little bit away but hopefully he`ll get his knee brace off soon and get him back to training as well. We’ll be back, hopefully soon, to a fully fit squad. The squad is getting better.

“We`ve added Robbie Mahon who I thought came on and did well the other night. Kane Ritchie-Hosler as well, who`s desperate to get his chance in the team. But it just shows how well the boys are doing in front of him that are keeping him out the team. But they`re training well every day, training intensity is great and these boys are pushing the starters all the time to make sure they`re at it. If not, then there`s players there ready to take their place."

Can Robbie Mahon eye up more game time in Lewis’ absence?

"It`s a different position. Robbie is more of a wide player who can play central, as he showed when he came on there the other night. When players are out injured - Kevin, Lewis - it`s an opportunity for people to come in and stake their claim for their place.

“Craig Wighton is fit now, so we`ve still got a couple of strikers up there but we`ve shown that we can be versatile in terms of shape and players playing different positions. Which you need when you`ve got a small squad, you need players who can fill in different areas of the pitch. We`re looking pretty healthy at the minute and hopefully Lewis` one isn`t too bad and the other two aren`t too far away."

Pausing to reflect on Craig Wighton, the Assistant Manager said that the striker’s workload just had to be managed:-

"Obviously his knee has been a bit of an issue for him for a while now and as long as we can manage it, make sure he`s doing enough work, on the right days as well - yeah, sometimes you`ve just got to manage their load and make sure they`re not doing too much on that knee if it`s going to trouble them.

“You`ve got to make sure players are ready for a game on a Saturday, that`s the priority. But also getting enough work in to make sure they`re not off the pace when they do get the opportunity. Craig is looking a lot better. Week by week he`s getting there and we`re starting to see glimpses of the player that we know - if he`s on form Craig should be a real asset in this league."

Before letting him get back to work two further questions asked about his working relationship with the manager and if we can expect to see him taking reserve games. It was noticeable on Tuesday night that the two of you had a lengthy debate prior to the introduction of substitutes:-

"It`s always been like that. Before any change is made or whatever, we`ll always discuss it. James will never just say `I`m putting this player on, that`s it done`. So it`s up to me to either challenge him on that or discuss it to see if its right. Ultimately he`s the manager and it comes down to his final decision - but we`ve got a good working relationship in that sense.

“We always discuss teams, formations and substitutions during a game. You hope you get the right decision but we`ll have a discussion and we`ll come to some sort of conclusion. Ultimately, as I say, he gets the final say, but it`s my job to challenge that and  make sure he`s thinking about other things.

"Greg Shields will take the reserve game against United next Tuesday. I`ll be at the game and it`s an opportunity for a few players who`ve not had some game time to step up, as well as the young boys. It was scheduled for this week but obviously the Clyde game clashed with it, so we`ve moved it back.

“It`ll be a good opportunity for some of them to play out there on East End. Especially against Dundee United, who no doubt will have a good squad out as well. The youth team has got a game in the Youth Cup on Friday night as well and that’s a good opportunity for some of these kids to come and show what they`re capable of.”

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