Dunfermline Athletic

Chance for Pott hunter

Tuesday, 30th Apr 2013

John Potter: "If we go and perform, play as we can, then we definitely have a chance

HAMPDEN VISIT

Ahead of Wednesday night's SFA Youth Cup Final at Hampden, John Potter has enjoyed being able to reassemble his Under 20s squad. Speaking exclusively to the website he said:-

"It is the first time for a good few months that we have had the full squad together. We trained on Monday morning and then we went through to Hampden. Myself and Shaun (Byrne) had a few media things to do and the boys had a look around the changing rooms and the pitch.

"You could sense the excitement and then we had a bit of fun and a good laugh in training this morning. We worked through a few things for tomorrow, then a bit of lunch before going up to the stadium in the afternoon to go over a few things on the video. Then roll on tomorrow."

Excitement can turn into nerves as well but the coach feels that the last four or five weeks involvement with the first team has helped the squad. They have found themselves in pressurised situations and having to perform well for the first team. Potts feels that the experience will hopefully allow his team to start the game well.

All the squad want to play and even with the first team facing an important match on Saturday against Airdrie United, Jim Jefferies has not limited the choices available to John Potter. Only Scott Campbell and Jack Bruce are likely to be unavailable for selection in the Cup Final.

DAFC U20s

"The Manager has told us to go and treat it like the cup final it is and we will deal with Saturday on Thursday morning. It has been a good build up.

At the start of this season Potts took over the Under 20s coaching role from Hamish French who had most of this squad for two years at Under 19 level. He has stressed from day one of his regime that team spirit was important :-

"We need to play together as a team. We needed to perform like a team on and off the pitch. We had the trip to Cyprus in January which was great and since we came back they have been on a successful run.

Keep off the grass

"Obviously we have been beaten in the last few league games but that is due to exceptional circumstances. They have been a great group and have mixed well. Some have come into the first team and come back down but they have never mucked about in training or done anything stupid when they have come back to me."

The Dunfermline Under 20s were sitting fifth in the SPL League when their service were commandeered by the first team squad. That will undoubtedly have accelerated their development and hopefully make them better players when their services might be called upon even more.

Dressing Room

"Even for the younger ones coming in, they see the likes of Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young, Ross Millen and Allan Smith playing and doing well in the first team. These young ones have been playing and training with them all season so they will realise that they are not far away if they keep doing what they have been doing."

The two matches against Celtic's Under 20 team this season have been close contests. Potts would concede that Celtic have probably been the better team on both occasions but he felt that after going ahead in the game at East End Park the Pars were a shade unlucky to lose it. Then at Firhill the Fifers lost out to a late goal from a set piece.

HAMPDEN VISIT

"They are obviously a good team, they can pick who they want but we have a strong team and if we go and perform, play as we can, then we definitely have a chance."

The cup run started at Ross County where a good solid performance earned a 2-0 win. The tie at home to Montrose went into cruise control after an early goal and the goal machine got rolling. Then Inverness were the quarter final opponents and Dunfermline had a great first half to go in 3-0 up but then held on to win 3-2 after a resilient Caley Thistle second half performance.

The place in the final was secured in a rollercoaster of a climax to the semi final against St Mirren. It took an extra time goal from Andy Ritchie to book their place in the final.

"You could see the team spirit by the way everyone celebrated whether they were involved or not. The scenes in the dressing room were great afterwards. The boys really enjoyed it and we have told them to go out and do the same thing again.

SFA YOUTH CUP SEMI 3-2

"We have put three Premier League teams out, people might say it has not been the hardest of draws that we have had but they were good Premier League teams where we had to go out and win. We have scored three goals in quarter finals and three in semi finals, hopefully we can go out and do that on Wednesday night."

John and his assistant Craig Dargo were at Hampden as players with St Mirren. They finished the game getting beaten 1-0 by a Rangers team who had had two players sent off.

"I was telling the boys about it. We thought after the sending offs that we were going to win it. We got carried away and went chasing the game. They hit us with only a couple of minutes to go. That was disappointing.

"I have played there only once in my near twenty year football career so for these boys to play there no matter what competition it is, it is a great experience. It looked great on Monday, the pitch looked excellent and it is good to see the amount of people who have wished us well.

"We don't know how many Dunfermline fans will go through but everybody I speak to tells me that they are going. It would be great to see a good turnout and hopefully we can put on a turn for them. It is all about how we perform on the night."

3095-SFA YCF 13 static banner

SFA Youth Cup Final

 



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