Dunfermline Athletic

Assistant Manager previews Peterhead

Thursday, 12th Jan 2023

12/01/23: DM - “Peterhead will come here with a new manager with maybe different ideas but I know one thing, they will make it difficult.

It was Assistant Dave Mackay who spoke to the media this lunchtime and before talking about Saturday’s League One match against Peterhead, he firstly gave his thoughts on the late postponement of the SPFL Trust Trophy Quarter Final at Dundee on Tuesday night:-

“Obviously sometimes just due to weather conditions a game is put into jeopardy. We thought on the way up that there could be a bit of an issue just because of the forecast and the condition of the road. I have seen the pitch in worse conditions and the games being played on it. We did want the game to go ahead but obviously the referee decided otherwise.

“I believe the referee was late getting there only an hour before kick off. The linesmen has been out and checked it and they weren’t sure, maybe 50/50 then. The referee has had the final say. It was still raining to be fair around about kick off time so if anything the pitch was only going to get worse but as I say I have definitely seen it in a worse condition and played on. It is disappointing when you travel up there, prepared for it and then get called off at the last minute.”

The postponed match has been re-arranged for next Tuesday (17th January) but before that all the attention is on David Robertson’s Peterhead who visit The KDM Group East End Park on Saturday. Dave recalled:-

“Last time we played them here we struggled. Even when we were 2-0 up we probably didn’t deserve to be in that position. On the basis of the full game they probably deserved a point, although the way it came was disappointing for us. It was late on and it was a couple of goals we could have defended better.

“We can’t write off any team. We know if we are not at it we give everybody a chance. Peterhead will come here with a new manager with maybe different ideas but I know one thing, they will make it difficult. Although they lost their last game late on to Airdrie by three goals they have been looking a lot more solid. For 85 minutes of that game they kept a clean sheet and the week before against Montrose they picked up a point, so we expect them to be tough opposition.”

After missing last Saturday’s match through illness Rhys Breen is back in training confirmed Dave:-

“He is feeling a bit better although his issue wasn’t too much. We expect him to be fine. The only player missing is Paul Allan who is still out so we have a lot of players fighting for positions which is a good thing.

“It also makes the job a wee bit difficult at times and it comes down to how we are playing against different oppositions, their strengths and weaknesses and where we think we can hurt them. Even in the games that have been postponed there have been different starting line ups planned.

“It’s not just a case of going with the same again, we take each game in isolation and this weekend it will be a different team I’d imagine for the one that was going to play against Dundee. Some of that is down to loan players being back available again. So we have a big squad at the minute that are all fighting fit and performing well. It is a good problem to have.”

Kevin O’Hara has now been back in training and looking good, Dave expanded:-

“Kevin is the type of boy that just hits the ground running straight away. He is fit, always sharp, explosive. Since he came back there has been absolutely no reaction to his knee whatsoever. It is great to have him back and he gives us another option in that attacking area.”

Paul Allan has been out since the second game of the League One season but he might not be too far away for a comeback, Dave added:-

“He maybe just needs to see the specialist again just to get the go ahead to really kick on in terms of joining in training and doing the final stages of his rehab. He is still working away in the gym and making sure that the foot is right. It is one where there is no point in coming back early unless it has completely healed. He has to make sure that he has the go ahead from the specialist to kick on with his final stages.”

With three of Dunfermline’s last five matches being postponed the schedule ahead looks as though it could be testing. Dave feels that it is good that the Dundee has been re-arranged so soon and is hopeful that the forecasted cold spell early next week won’t delay the tie:-

“Hopefully the weather is a little bit better than it was and we get the game going ahead. It is going to be a busy period coming up for us in terms of league, Scottish Cup and Trust Trophy games and there are a couple of re-arranged games to get fitted in as well. It is going to be a busy period and we need everybody fit. Hopefully everybody stays fit and if we manage to get Paul Allan back in the next few weeks or so, that would be a big boost.”

There is currently no news of dates for the outstanding league games away to Airdrieonians and at home to Falkirk:-

“That will depend on cups. Obviously if you draw in the Scottish Cup then they need to fit that in quickly. The next round of the Trust Trophy is scheduled pretty soon as well so they have to leave dates open for that. So you are looking at February/ March before these games are rescheduled.”

Reserve games are scheduled for Tuesday 17th and Tuesday 24th, both at the Indodrill Stadium.

“We have one scheduled for Tuesday which might be postponed now because it was supposed to be against Dundee. Unless it is two young squads that play but I don’t think we would have enough numbers due to the loan players being unavailable. I imagine that one might be re-arranged but there are a few reserve games coming up as well as all the first team games so everybody is going to get loads of game time over the next four or five weeks.”

Commenting on what has to be a daily question at this time of year, ‘signings’? Dave replied:-

“Possibly, nothing imminent to be honest. We are still speaking to agents or agents are contacting you with players. As we always say we have to make sure that they are the right ones that are coming in. We are not going to jump at it just for the sake of it.

“The squad is in a good position at the minute in terms of numbers and fitness-wise. It is not as if we need to do something just to get a player in and on the books. If the right ones became available then we would be open to that.”

He also made it clear that he hoped that the club could hold on to all four of their loan players and claimed that no outward loans were likely at the moment.

“We hope to keep hold of everybody. Everybody who is here at the minute has played a part this season, there is no intention to send anybody out at all. We are not in any need to do that either, if anything hopefully we might add one, possibly two, but it just depends if the right players become available.”

Returning to the SPFL Trust Trophy, the return of Dave Mackay and James McPake to Dens Park for a competitive match has been delayed by a week but Dave pointed out it had only been a short a time since he left:-

“The last time I was there was probably the end of June, so it has only been a short time away. A lot faces are still exactly the same, most of the playing squad is still the same. The only change is a different manager, different assistant and a few other staff members in the backroom team.

“It was good to see everybody. I keep in contact with a few but it was good to see a few of the other faces that I have not spoken to for a while.”

Dundee or Dunfermline are lined up for a SPFL Trust Trophy semi final at home to Raith and the potential for a Fife Derby had not been missed:-

“It would be a big incentive and a great tie as well. There would be a great crowd for a local derby so it is a little bit of an incentive for us but we just want to take care of Dundee. It is going to be a tough task against a very good team, we need to make sure that we take care of that game first and if we do get through it is a real good one to look forward to.”

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