Dunfermline Athletic

Manager Friday Update

Friday, 28th Oct 2022

28/10/22: Warm welcome expected for former Pars
Chris Mochrie becoming a targeted player
Paul Allan returns to training

Above: Kallum Higginbotham and John Potter

Four former players could be returning to The KDM East End Park on Saturday with opponents Kelty Hearts. Kallum Higginbotham, Joe Cardle and Lewis Martin could be back on turf that they know rather well after a total of over 500 Dunfermline appearances amongst them. In addition their manager was a player and a manager previously at Dunfermline as well.

Although playing at Livingston, Coventry City, Hibernian and Dundee James McPake cannot recall playing against any of his former teams after leaving them. The only one experience of coming up against a former club that he can relate back to is managing Dundee against Livingston. He told the website:-

“I had a great time at Livingston when I was younger and coming through with a group of players that included Snodgrass, Dorrans, Griffiths, Dave Mackay and Murray Davidson. I was desperate to win the game and those boys coming on Saturday were,as far as I’m aware, good players for this football club.

Above: Lewis Martin made 171 Dunfermline appearances

“They will get their round of applause for the first time that they come out maybe, then the crowd will do what the crowd always does. Our fans are supporting Dunfermline and those players are playing for Kelty with everyone desperate to win the game. They will be looking forward to coming back to a place that is familiar to them and a lovely pitch that they know.

“Their minds will be completely focussed on trying to get back to back wins against what many perceive as the two big clubs in this league. That is just the perception because I think everybody in this league are all the same - that is why we are in this league and you can see that now.

“I don’t think anybody can claim to be anything other than a League One club at the minute. Kelty went and beat Falkirk, Peterhead came here and got 2-2.

“They will be excited about it, desperate to make it two away wins in a row over Falkirk and Dunfermline. What a run that would be if you were a Kelty player or a Kelty fan. It is our job to stop that.“

Above: Joe Cardle made 244 Pars appearances

The first league fixture against Kelty Hearts at New Central Park ended a goalless draw and the manager attributed that in no small way to John Potter:-

“I know John pretty well as a coach and how well he works from speaking with a lot of people who have worked with him. Kevin Thomson did a fantastic job there last season to get them out of that league. I just felt looking at their squad and their experienced players that it shows how hard it can be to go to Kelty.

“It’s a tight wee pitch and although it is a new stadium it has the proper old-school feel with everybody really close. It makes it a tough place to go and it has proven to be so. It will not be upsets, they will continue to win games in the league and be a threat to teams every single week.

“Football has a strange way of throwing things up. They have done well as a football club to get from juniors and into the SPFL and now they have won a title quite comfortably. They have come up and like us they deserve to be in this league.”

Above: Kallum Higginbotham made 113 Dunfermline appearances

The first league fixture against Kelty Hearts at New Central Park ended a goalless draw and the manager attributed that in no small way to John Potter:-

“I know John pretty well as a coach and how well he works from speaking with a lot of people who have worked with him. Kevin Thomson did a fantastic job there last season to get them out of that league. I just felt looking at their squad and their experienced players that it shows how hard it can be to go to Kelty.

“It’s a tight wee pitch and although it is a new stadium it has the proper old-school feel with everybody really close. It makes it a tough place to go and it has proven to be so. It will not be upsets, they will continue to win games in the league and be a threat to teams every single week.

“Football has a strange way of throwing things up. They have done well as a football club to get from juniors and into the SPFL and now they have won a title quite comfortably. They have come up and like us they deserve to be in this league.”

It is likely that the derby atmosphere that we saw at Kelty - a packed ground with excited fans - will be replicated at East End and James recalled:-

“The place was packed and I am hoping that there’s a good crowd here tomorrow to get behind us. I’m sure Kelty will bring down all their supporters because it is so close.

“I like derbies because there is that wee bit about them. We need to go out and control, we`ve got a gameplan and we`ll work as hard as we can, play for that badge and the fans who are cheering us on. If we do that we believe we`ll come away with a positive result.”

Asked about the seemingly increasing on-field targeting of Chris Mochrie, the manager agreed that unfortunately it was becoming a common theme. He is hoping that referees can ensure a level of protection for the very talented 19 year old who is on loan from Dundee United:-

“He`s one that we`re delighted to have, he`s a joy to work with. In a lot of games you can see he`s been targetted. People will say that`s rich coming from me - I ended my own career with a tackle. I didn`t mean it, clearly. It was a tackle, no malice at all.

“But there`s things happening to Chris, cynical fouls. You always try and find a way to win, of course you do, but there has got to be a level of protection to every player. A level of consistency, is what I`m saying. That`s not having a go at Montrose, Clyde or whoever but there were certainly a few times - and you can see it building up every week as teams are coming to watch us. Maybe a lot of it is down to me because I`ve come out and I`ve spoken quite highly of Chris.

Above: Paul Allan signed a new contract for Allan Johnston and John Potter

“I just try to be as honest as I can without crossing any boundaries. He has been excellent for us and maybe if I`d have said nothing, nothing would have happened but I don`t think people are that naive. Clubs are sending people to every game and they can see he`s a massive threat wherever he picks the ball up on the pitch.

“You just hope the referees are picking it up, they’ve the hardest job in football. Players, not just Chris, are going to get hurt if referees aren`t consistent with allowing things to go or taking a stance when you can see maybe a pattern happening. Maybe I`m a bit paranoid about it or maybe it`s just a bit of black-and-white-tinted specs from me.

“Chris is a big boy now. He needs to learn to deal with it as part of his career if he`s going to go on to the next level, and go and play at the top levels of football which we all believe he can do. He`s going to need to learn to take that, but I do think that he is being targeted and I would hate to see it resulting in a bad injury."

On the injury front there was one piece of good news on Friday.

“Lewis McCann, Kevin O’Hara are the same but Paul Allan trained fully today for the first time so that’s a good one. He has done his rehab with the physio and touch wood there is no reaction tonight and we can get him going again next week and he can be important for us.”



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