Dunfermline Athletic

Manager Previews Clyde match

Friday, 28th Apr 2023

27/04/23: JM - “We are going to go out and give everything like we have done all season.”

With the League One title won and just two league games left to see the season out, James McPake pledged that his side would not waste any of the last two fixtures at home to Clyde and away to Alloa. “That is not to say that we are guaranteed to win them but we are going to go out and give everything like we have done all season.”

Saturday’s opposition need a point to avoid falling into the automatic relegation place into League Two and the Pars manager warned:-

“Jim Duffy is an experienced manager and you can see what he has done since he went in at Clyde. In the game down there they went in front after a minute and they showed their real heart at the weekend there when they were down in the game at Peterhead to score in the last minute. It is going to be a tough game.

“It is also going to be a great day for the football club, we know that, that’s guaranteed but we want to win the game. Make no mistake about that, we are going out there to win the game but we are facing a Clyde team that will be wanting to do the same.”

The Squad

As a result of last Saturday’s red cards, the two suspended players -Kyle Benedictus and Kevin O’Hara - are out and the manager confirmed:-

“Matty Todd has had surgery so we will see Matty next season. Breeny is out, Lewis McCann will be fine, Paul Allan we think will be fine. He should be, he did a bit on Wednesday, we will top him up and we are hopeful for Saturday. It was a bad tackle actually - I don’t mean the boy has meant it but it could have been a nasty one. He just caught him and it was a dead leg at the side of his knee. He has progressed well, we will not rush him because we know that we have a game the following week as well. He will definitely be available for that but I’m confident that he will be in the squad for this weekend.”

Paul McGowan is back in training after a dead calf kept him out against Airdrieonians and he will be back in the squad for Saturday.

Kyle Benedictus

The red card shown to Kyle Benedictus meant the Dunfermline captain missed the final 27 minutes of the league game at Airdrie, spoiling his ability to play every minute of every league match this season. James recognised that this was a real disappointment for the 31 year old who has been the mainstay of the defence all season.

“It was me who brought it up to him saying that he would have to keep it going because it would be a great achievement if he could do that. I think he will be gutted that he got a red card that wasn’t a red card. I can see why the officials did give it but we have evidence (video) that the boy was offside. It was really tight, unfortunately we don’t have VAR in our division. I’m saying unfortunately for once because it annoys the life out of me, but it would have been beneficial for us on Saturday that’s for sure.”

Motivation of records

While Kyle’s record has suffered an abrupt halt, already broken this season is the shut-outs records, the highest number of consecutive league games undefeated and the fewest league defeats in a season. In the sights is a full league season without being beaten at home, fewest goals conceded at home in a league season, currently 11 goals from 1994/95 and fewest goals scored against in a league season, currently 27. The manager acknowledged the potential for more records:-

“It is something that we are proud of. We have been made aware of them, the players have seen them and we want to do that but ultimately it is a home game. Forgetting the records we want to win the game. We will have a big crowd in here. We will pick a team, like we have all season. It is not about getting to the end of the season to decide you know what, ‘we will give people a game’.

“You will have seen down at Airdrie, folk would be saying Paul Allan goes in after being out for so long but Paul Allan was exceptional in that first half. A lot of our good play was going through him. He is a very good footballer and I think it is only right for the fans, for the squad, for the players that we pick the team that we think can beat Clyde like we have done all season whoever we have been playing.

Enjoy the Finale

“We don’t want to take it for granted. It is the best feeling ever when you are a player and I have been there, it quickly goes and like I have said before I wish at times I was out on that pitch. You see the atmosphere of the Falkirk game out there, the celebrations at the end and you enjoy that as a manager but when you are a player it is great. It is hard work, you take lots of knocks - I don’t mean injuries, lots of bad days but I think our advice to the players is ‘don’t waste a game of football, go out and give everything for those 95 minutes’.

“We still have two weeks of a great season to go and the players are all desperate to train, desperate to play and even the ones who are struggling a little bit are out on the training pitch. Kyle Benedictus was doing extra fitness work on Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t ask him to do it and asked him why he was doing that. He wanted to be ready for the Alloa game.

“The league has been won comfortably. There is a big celebration coming on Saturday and don’t get me wrong we are going to enjoy that. We are going to make the most of that because it is a special day for everyone at the club. They have got to enjoy it but then we have another game to go. Then we have plenty time to rest and do what we want over the summer. We are certainly not going to waste any of these next two games. That is not to say that we are guaranteed to win them but we are going to go out and give everything like we have done all season.”

Same Again

It would be nice to score another five goals in front of a big crowd?

“If we can play the way we did (last time at home) and the way we did in that first half at Airdrie, then we will have a chance of winning the game and the chance of scoring some goals. Again Clyde will come and be different. They are fighting for their lives which I’m glad about. I don’t mean that disrespecting them but I’m glad that there is a team coming and Alloa as well will have a lot to play for the following week. It keeps it interesting. How would it be if you had a team that’s eleven points clear and getting a trophy playing somebody who was safe mid table? I don’t know.

“Certainly from our perspective we would still have gone out treating it like a game in which we need three points. We owe that to the fans, there is an expectancy here when they see their players on the pitch to win the game. Make no doubts about it, if we are not performing in the first half that crowd will boo when we are walking off the pitch and I would be booing the players as well so they had better perform in the first half!”

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