Assistant manager on ThursdayThursday, 15th Dec 2022
15/12/22: DMc - “I think it`s starting to slowly click for us just now, hopefully that continues into Saturday."
Probably like every other club, the extremely cold weather has caused disruption to Dunfermline’s training plans this week but a swift move by chief scout, Gary Montignani, managed to get the Oriam booked for training this week. Assistant manager Dave Mackay described that as a great help in preparation for Saturday’s match away to Airdrieonians:-
“You can get your normal training session done and prepare properly - because if you don`t get one of the indoor facilities, which are hard to get when the weather is like this because everybody`s desperate for them, then you`re struggling. So it`s been great that we managed to do proper training sessions, so it`s not affected us really at all.
"Hearts are there, the SFA licenses are going on all the time, so we didn`t get on the main pitch but we got a nine-a-side pitch. Again, it`s fine for us considering the sort of work we`d have been doing. So you just taper your training session towards the size of the pitch. Obviously we can`t do the 11 v 11 stuff on it due to the size, but again we`re managing to get a touch of the ball and getting a good session out of it."
Dave is optimistic that the Excelsior Stadium playing surface will defeat the weather for this weekend:-
"From what I hear Airdrie actually played a bounce match on Tuesday against Raith Rovers. So they must have treated the surface before the cold weather snap came. I think you need to put the salt down before it freezes over, if you do it afterwards it`s too late. So they`ve obviously been looking after it. I don`t expect there to be any problems. I think the temperature is to rise slightly over Friday and Saturday anyway. We`re training and preparing as if the game is going to go ahead and we expect it to do so."
Dave is the person who does the analysis on the opposition, so what did he make of Saturday’s, a side undefeated in their last five League One matches?
"They`re a really good side, they play some good stuff. On their day they can beat anybody. They came here and it ended up being a really open game, but they are one of the teams that caused us a lot of problems.
“We need to make sure we`re right at it and we know that we can hurt other teams as well. We`re starting to hit a bit of form, we`re scoring a few more goals and looking a bit more creative. - earlier in the season we were creating loads of chances but maybe we`re not playing as decent football. I think it`s starting to slowly click for us just now, hopefully that continues into Saturday."
Now having scored 16 goals in their last six matches Dave is pleased that the goals have been going in and hopes that the team can take up from where they left off at Arbroath last time out:-
"I think that`s been one of our criticisms this season is that you can`t fault the players for much, but it`s maybe being a little bit more ruthless in the final third. Especially earlier in the season, we were creating chances galore and we were maybe only winning the game by one goal. Which is fine when you are winning games, but you want to see a few more goals and convert a higher percentage of those chances. Hopefully, Friday night is a sign of that and we can continue that sort of form into the weekend."
Looking at team news Dave confirmed that definitely missing will be Kevin O`Hara and Paul Allan.
“They`re still a little bit away from fitness. Lewis McCann did his first full training session on Wednesday, so we`ll see how he reacts to that. He could potentially be on the bench for Saturday, but it`s encouraging to see him back. Again, he came through the session without any problems at all so it will be great to have another player like Lewis back in the squad.
“Kevin is doing his running and stuff like that so he`s progressing well, he`s not back to kicking the ball or anything yet, but he`s progressing really well. He`s pretty happy with the knee and that shouldn`t be too long. If everything goes to plan he should continue his running for a couple of weeks and then start progressing into starting training properly again. We should have more or less a full squad back in the next month or so, I`d expect.
"Everybody else is fine - a couple players with a little bit of illness but it was nothing major. As it stands everybody is fit and looking forward to Saturday."
Dave gave an update on a couple of changes to the backroom staff with the departure of goalkeeping coach, Alan Main and physio, Tommy Scanlon:-
"I think just due to his circumstances, Alan just felt it was the right time for him to step away from football. So we wish him all the best. He was great for us and he was great for Deniz (Mehmet) and Max (Little) after coming in as well. Nobody can fault his work or his work ethic. He just felt for his own personal situation that it would be better to step back from football and focus on other things.
“So we wish him all the best going forward. I know Alan from playing with him at St Johnstone, a great guy. It certainly had nothing to do with anything that was going on here. He just felt it was the right time for him to move on and he goes with our best wishes. I always felt it was maybe coming for a little bit, but he`s finally come to the conclusion that it`s probably the best time for him just to step away.
“We`ve had Andy Collier who had been working with the academy, come in and cover. He`s done a great job and he`s managed to fit it around his own work commitments so Andy has come in seamlessly. I think he lives in Glenrothes and he has his own goalkeeping academy. He`s worked with the academy now for a few years, he`s done really well. I think the plan is to get Andy in and doing it on a permanent basis.”
Physio Tommy Scanlon has moved on to Hibs and Dave revealed:-
“We`ve got a replacement coming in who I don`t think will start for another month or six weeks or so, but we`ve got cover in place just now until he works out his final days with the club that he`s at just now. He`s having to see out his notice period, but we`re fine, there`s not a problem with that."
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