Dunfermline Athletic

Jim Jefferies ahead of Raith

Thursday, 24th Jul 2014

23/07/14: JJ - speaking at an event at the Forth Rail Bridge to promote the Fife derby in this weekend's Petrofac Training Cup First Round.

Speaking at an event at the Forth Rail Bridge to promote the Fife derby between Dunfermline Athletic and Raith Rovers in this weekend's Petrofac Training Cup First Round, Jim Jefferies acknowledged that he will soon find out if his team is all set up and ready to go. The test comes in the shape of the Challenge Cup holders but he enthused:-

"Hopefully we are ready and it is a cracking game to get the season underway. There is a lot of rivalry in this local derby and having beaten Cowdenbeath in this cup last season we lost to Raith. They were a bit more experienced than us and it told in the end. Hopefully we are a wee bit wiser and we feel that we have strengthened since last year. We are looking forward to the game."

The Pars boss views Raith as having pressure on them right away and their manager Grant Murray knows that he has to defend it:-

"He is there to be shot down and made the perfect comment -'it didn't matter who he drew, they are the holders and they are always the target'. Teams like to knock out the holders in any competition but we will have to be at our best and play well. They have got players and made some good signings too. They will be stronger than they were last year preparing for a tough league.

"We are expecting a tough match but I will be looking to see how much our young side has advanced. We lost to them last year but this match will show me how much we have come on and how well we have improved."

JJ commented that the competition in the Championship might have been too much for the Pars this season:-

"It may be a blessing in disguise that we have another year together. This play off business is no use to us, we have not pulled it off there so we want to go up as champions. Everybody was down on the final day play off, Cowdenbeath got off to a great start and never looked back after that.

"We tried to use that as motivation for this year, we don't want to feel like that again. We picked ourselves up fairly quickly. The fans, everybody at the club was down but the club acted quickly signing three players soon after the season had finished. Players that had played against us and that we had looked at. We got them in very quickly and now we have a record number of season tickets sold at this stage. They have responded great again. I think that is because we were positive.

"Everybody was fearing the worst, more cuts and maybe even part time. We regrouped and strengthened and this time we really need to be the ones to go up.

"Dunfermline is a big club and should be in the higher leagues. Circumstances have affected them over the last couple of years and we have had to deal with that. We have dealt with it really well but we won't to go up there ready and not just come right back down. This year should help us because I would imagine that two out of the three (Hearts, Hibs and Rangers) will be favourites to go up, so the league might suit us better the following year.

"We would have liked to have gone up obviously because of the financial side of it which will be a big help to clubs like Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath. It is what it is and we have got to make sure that we are there next year. The players have got to handle that situation when there are such big expectations levels as we have."

The Manager revealed that he felt that his squad still had room for one further addition. He discussed where he felt the need lay:-

"Last year we were very unfortunate. People forget that in the last crucial games we had to deal with the loss of four of our strikers. Ryan Wallace was a big miss. Lawrence Shankland got injured a few games, Jordan Moore had a cancer problem and then Allan Smith went down on the Thursday before the final.

"We only had the young lad, Faissal - the Moroccan lad who was just into the team. He did well but it was a big ask for him to shoulder the responsibility because really we had a midfield player (Ryan Thomson) playing out of position upfront just to give us that bit of strength and power upfront, but he is not a natural goalscorer. He will get you an odd goal here and there but it was a tall order to go into the final game without four of your recognised strikers.

"So we feel that we need to get another striker in; a different type from what we have got at the moment but we do not have anybody in mind. The transfer window has a few weeks to go yet so we will probably try and do something before it closes but it will have to be for the right one. We have already turned down two or three because they are similar to what we have got. We need somebody different."

Jim Jefferies commented on the absence of Craig Dargo around the team:-

"Dargs knew that in terms of playing it was time to move on. He did a terrific job for me coming on on the odd time. He started against Rangers, as John Potter did, and showed up well.

"He has ideas to go into the coaching side and helping young players. He was very good at that, helping John Potter in the under 20s. With this new Fife Academy in its early throws there have been thoughts to keep him involved in that.

"I am a little disappointed that we couldn't support him coming in on a Tuesday with the under 20s and he also looked after school kids who came in on a Thursday. There were twelve to fifteen sometimes but obviously with us concentrating on the first team squad, he took them away and we gave him a couple of extra ground staff boys to make a good session out of it. He was very good at it so I am a bit disappointed.

"I am not saying that he is leaving the club altogether because I would like him to take up the offer with Stephen Wright at the Academy but he has to go through the same process as everybody else; it is not the Dunfermline Academy it is the Fife Academy. With the licences he has he could be an asset to them."

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