Dunfermline Athletic

Manager comments on new signing

Tuesday, 22nd Sep 2020

22/09/20: Stevie Crawford gives his views on his latest addition to the first team squad.

“It is great that we have managed to get in Kerr McInroy from Celtic. He will be a welcome addition. He is very highly thought of, he has been away with Celtic over the pre season and he is a local lad who is very keen to come to Dunfermline as well.

“It says a lot that you have somebody who has been in and around the Celtic first team over the summer who wants to go out and play competitive football. He does come on the back of having an injury but he has recovered from that and Celtic see it as a good fit to get him out challenging to play Championship football.”

Stevie felt that the loan was probably helped by the positive way Dunfermline looked after the young Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi last season and the relationship that created:-

“We are thankful to Celtic that we have this opportunity to work with Kerr. He has played through the age groups for Scotland and he is a midfielder who can play box to box, he can play as a sitter and he can play at left back as well although I don’t see him playing at left back for ourselves.

“Good players can play in a number of positions and Kerr very much gives us competition for places. In the main he will be here to fight for his place as a central midfielder.

“In some of the footage that we have watched of him he has got a finish on him from long range. That is a skill, and an art in itself but it is not just a case of putting his foot through the ball and hoping for the best, there are a lot of cultured finishes in there.

“He is very much a player who can see a pass, he has got a different range of passes whether it is breaking lines or switching play. If he has been in and around Celtic’s first team you are expecting these things.

“The thing that is exciting is that Kerr very much wants to be part of coming here, challenging for a place and wanting to take Dunfermline forward as a football club. It is another good signing to get over the line.”

As a Dunfermline fan the young Kerr attended the 2004 Scottish Cup Final but the fact that he was only three at the time. The fact that is now history wasn’t so good for the ears of Stevie and the coaching staff but may have swung the 20 year old’s desire to play at East End Park. Stevie continued:-

“It shows our age now but it is a positive that here is a player who had other options to go elsewhere at different levels of the Scottish game and we have managed to get this one over the line. It is exciting that there are young players in the Scottish game who are now wanting to come to Dunfermline for all the right reasons - to play football, to progress their careers but also take the club forward.”

Above: Kerr’s first Hampden final

Will fitting in another midfield player into the team be possible?

“It is healthy competition. We have done our homework on boys and any player who I have spoken to since coming into the job, I look into their eyes when speaking to them and see that they want to fight for their place. There is no point in hiding from the fact, if you try and guarantee anybody a game of football it makes the place lethargic and competition for places goes stale.

“The homework that we have done on him shows that Kerr comes with a really good background and is going to be a really exciting player for us. He wants to come here and fight for his place so the other midfielders in the squad now have to raise their game.

“The one thing that I will look at and assess now with my coaching staff where some of the younger ones are at. It is important if they are not going to get game time, that we try and get them league football to help them develop. We will see what the rest of the pre season games bring and then address possibly putting at least one central midfielder out on loan.”

The first team squad now sits at 24 and with no Reserve League games, opportunities to keep them all involved are lessened. The Covid restrictions mean that they cannot even attend and watch first team games if they are not in the match day squad. Stevie feels that getting the balance with a genuine chance to play in the team and a genuine chance to be around a squad that is hungry to finish as high as they possibly can.

“It is not going overboard and bringing in numbers for the sake of it. We don’t see that in any way with Kerr. We do feel that it brings healthy competition for all the right reasons.”

In this evening’s friendly against Spartans the same three trialists who played against Stenhousemuir on Saturday will be given an outing at some stage.

“We are possibly looking to add to the squad in the right areas. I have always said that if there is a player out there who is going to add value to our squad and take us to where we want to go then I will always ask the question of the Chairman.”

Above: last visit to Ainslie Park was to play Edinburgh City in 2019

There were a number of notable absentees on Saturday and the manager is being very careful to rest any player reacting to the pre season training:-

“We will have a couple who will come back. We will be looking to give boys in the main sixty minutes tonight. The boys who come on to get thirty minutes will then be in training tomorrow. The boys who get the sixty minutes will do recovery.

“We just have to be mindful of the ones that we are bringing back, they have to feel their way into the game and get thirty minutes under their belt.

“Looking ahead to the East Fife game on Saturday, it is one where we can really start getting minutes into the boys and try and get 75 minutes into them.

“There are no long term injuries but there have been issues with boys feeling certain muscles. Has that got something to do with. not playing competitive football since March? It has to but the reality is that we cannot pick up the phone and speak to someone who has experienced this before.

“As a coaching staff, medical staff, Gary McColl on the sports science side we are trying to make sure that where anybody has picked up anything we are doing things to make sure that don’t end up with longer term problems that carry into the later part of the season.”

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