Manager Previews Alloa AthleticFriday, 3rd Mar 2023
03/03/23: JM - “We have two home games back to back so we are looking to make full advantage of the big crowds that we will have and the backing that we will be having.
Manager James McPake started by reviewing last Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Queen of the South.
"It was a decent enough performance when you watch it back. There are bits of the game that of course we can work on, that`s our job. It is a tough place to go, it`s a very tricky pitch without being disrespectful to Queen of the South.
"I`m never one to have a go at artificial pitches, but that one certainly is tough. We were delighted to get the three points, first and foremost, and another clean sheet."
The manager was pleased to report that all his players came through the game in Dumfries unscathed:-
"Yeah, everybody has trained, nothing new. Paul Allan is looking great, he did a lot of work at the start when he came back, I still thought he looked good but when you have been out for that long, I`ve been in that situation, you`re never happy with your performances and you`re always feeling that you are half-yard too slow or your timing`s off. I think now you`re starting to see the real Paul Allan again that was in evidence at the start of the season.”
After his introduction 21 minutes into very first match of the season against East Fife, Paul Allan played every minute of the next five games until forced out through injury after the league win away to FC Edinburgh. The manager added:-
"I didn`t have long enough to work him, but in the short time it doesn`t take you long to realise he`s such a good footballer. He`s technically very good. He`s got a great footballing brain and now his body`s following in training. He`s looking really good and it’s a massive bonus for us having them back. He is a great boy as well.”
Dunfermline will play a Reserve Cup match against Queen of the South on Tuesday 14th March at Ainslie Park and James confirmed that anyone in the first team squad who has not played many minutes will play in that.
“It`s a good fixture for us. We`ve got the young boys as well that have done ever so well. So it`ll be a mix, but in the space of seven days the first team have three game days. We`ll assess it after that. Paul might get game time in the next three games but it`s a useful fixture for the squad when it does come around."
Discussing the loan of the seventeen year old to Elgin City until the end of the season, James praised Andrew for his progress but acknowledged that he needs to get out and get challenged in first-team football.
“He trains every day with our first team and that will continue. He does ever so well in training, great kid to work with, great attitude. It`s just to expose him to first-team football. We`ll keep an eye on that and see how he does between now and the end of the season with a view to bringing him back into our squad again.”
Andrew’s loan closely followed his seventeen year old team mate Sam Young’s loan to Cowdenbeath last week and James agreed that their game time has been very limited at first-team level, they have frequently been on the first team bench but have not played a lot at all.
“It was time. Sam Young has done the same. Andrew has been excellent in the last month in training, so it was time to get him out and expose him to that. He`ll go and he`ll do well at Elgin. He`s a Dunfermline Athletic player and it`s a loan that will hopefully suit both parties."
League Two Elgin City were keen to have Andrew and James revealed that a few teams had asked about his availability earlier in the season:-
“We felt it was more beneficial to stay around here. He`s kept kicking on, he`s kept going. We had to get to know the younger players as well before we could - it was different at my previous club, I knew them since they were 14. You knew when certain ones were ready to go and play, certain ones weren`t, but Sam and Andrew are definitely ready to go and play first-team football and get exposed to that where you have to win or you have to grind a result out or you`re fighting a different battle - whatever it may be.
"Elgin were very keen on him, as were a few others, and we left it to Andrew - between Andrew, Greg, the family. Me and David had input and he chose to go to Elgin. Part of the deal is that he trains with us and that will continue."
The agreement to allow Andrew and Sam to go out on loan is evidence that the manager has plenty of options even without them. James felt that is good:-
“I`ve always said that, the squad is healthy in terms of most positions are covered, all over the pitch. Everyone`s at a level now, a level of fitness. Some are maybe behind in match fitness or game time, some are behind on that but with three games from Saturday onwards in the seven days and then the reserve game coming. In 10 or 11 days there are four games, so everybody should get enough minutes the next week and a bit."
“Alloa are a good side, I have seen their last couple of games and they are in good form. I know that they got beat at the Falkirk Stadium but they were very much in that game and very unlucky to go away with nothing that day.
“This will be the fourth time that we have played them, if you include the cup game, so there is a familiarity there with both teams, both managers and staff. That is Scottish football for you.
“They are a good team and they make it really hard for you. They have some really good players” said James who singled out a former Dunfermline youth player. “Stefan Scougall is still a fantastic footballer, he is a player you like watching on his day but hopefully that’s not tomorrow. They are a threat, a good team and so we need to be at our best but we know that.”
Just prior to covid Alloa made six visits to East End Park undefeated and this season 1-1 in the Premier Sports Cup and a 1-0 win the following Saturday?
“They have been very tight. In the 3-0 win at the Indodrill Stadium we were really comfortable that day. That was one of our very good performances of the season, we got a couple of good goals that day. Watching that game back as well we had a couple of players who were excellent and it is going to take that tomorrow.
Value of home support
“Teams come here desperate for three points for whatever the reason, whether it is Peterhead who are down there or whether it is Alloa who are fighting for play offs. It is no different tomorrow but we have to use the energy from the crowd, we have got to enjoy playing at home because it is a fantastic club to play in front of.
“When I spoke at the very start I said that it was always a very tough place to bring teams when you get that home crowd onside. We have two home games back to back so we are looking to take full advantage of the big crowds that we will have and the backing that we will be having.
“They demand that we have got to get after the ball, after other teams, to create chances, to score goals, to run that wee bit harder than other teams - it is a demand that we all relish. When you do that then you hear it from the stands and they get behind us. When they are not happy then they let us know. That’s the beauty of playing at a club like this. There is an expectation from an expecting crowd that the boys are loving at the minute.”
Views : 1,215