Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Friday

Friday, 14th Oct 2022

14/10/22: JM - “They are a dangerous team and that is why they are top of the league. They score a lot of goals ….

The Dunfermline players had Thursday off this week so it was Friday before James McPake gave his pre match thoughts to the media. He explained that they work to six week plans:-

“There are loads of ways of doing it. It used to be always be a Wednesday but a lot of teams now give a Thursday off, which I think works better than a Wednesday.

“I believe that you can work harder on a Wednesday than you can on a Thursday. Thursday is closer to the game and not so good if you pick up a knock and on a Wednesday you can work harder.”

On Tuesday Dunfermline will play Clyde in the fourth of their six league fixtures in October but James ruled out any consideration needing to be given in his team selection for Saturday’s home match against FC Edinburgh:-

“It is one game at a time but I genuinely love it when there are midweek games. It was one of the really good things of going to England and playing in the Championship down there. Every week bar two or three in the season, you were playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.

“I loved it because you always had another game to prepare for. Training is good but games are what we enjoy. You don’t get that as often up here. We had it a bit at Hibs with the cup runs where you had games now and then but I think now it is easy for players to recover.

“There is a problem if you get an injury but in terms of their fitness and their conditioning, by the time the Tuesday comes they are ready to go again so I have not looked any further ahead than booking where our pre match meal will be.

“All our other focus is on Edinburgh. Unless there is an injury which you can never tell, I will not need to rotate the squad if I don’t want to. If somebody impresses me then I will certainly not hesitate to rotate it.”

With close on a total of 15,000 watching the last three home games, the manager is hoping that another big crowd turns out for Saturday’s game since he appreciates the powerful way the home support gets behind his team:-

“You talk about the Falkirk crowd but even when it is not so big like the Airdrie, Montrose, Peterhead crowds, they still got behind us. They went away disappointed of course they did, but they got behind us so we need to put a performance on that does that.”

James identified a need to test the FC Edinburgh defence and be aware that Alan Maybury’s side will come to the KDM Group East End Park to have a go:-

“They are on a good run of results. I certainly know Mark Kerr as a manager, it is Alan’s first job but I know Alan as a player. Mark Kerr’s teams were always attacking teams. I played against his Ayr United teams and I have a lot of respect for Mark for the job that he did at Ayr. He has a good team there and I felt that he was very unlucky in the way he lost his job at Ayr.”

In the last home match Peterhead tried to frustrate the Pars with a tactic to try and take chances late on from setplays. This time the Pars boss is hopeful the visitors come and do what Falkirk and Airdrieonians did and that suits Dunfermline:-

“You see when we go to Alloa and teams come out and have a go at us, it is easier. It always is tough but the message that we try and get across to the players is just to relax when that does happen. We don’t need to score in the first ten minutes, we don’t need to panic and make wrong decisions.

“I think that it should be an exciting game, they are going well and credit to them. I have watched them, we have played against them and we have seen them in other games as well. They are a threat so it should be a good game for people to come and watch.”

FC Edinburgh have won their last three league games and they have scored 15 goals on the road this season so far. James stressed that his team has to be wary of the danger these opponents bring:-

“They are a threat and a real threat from setplays. That is one of their big strengths. They scored six at Airdrie but that sometimes happens when a team loses a man because they sit in that wee bit.

“Airdrie played the way they play regardless, so Airdrie were still very open. I saw that game but you still have to score the goals and put the chances away. How often have I sat and bemoaned the fact that we could have scored six and we have not, so fair play to Edinburgh for doing that at Airdrie.

“So setplays are a real threat and they are a real threat on the counter as well, when you are in their half attacking. We know enough about them and they know enough about us. We were excellent when we went there and we won comfortably that day. That was just down to the way we played and the tempo we played at.

“That was as comfortable an afternoon as we could have had. I don’t think it was just because it was Edinburgh, I think we could have done that to anyone in the league that day. For me that was our best performance and we have not hit those heights since but it is not easy to do that.

“Everything clicked that day for us apart from Lewis missing the penalty! They are a dangerous team and that is why they are top of the league. They score a lot of goals, they have not drawn any games - they are winning or they are losing - and I believe for people who just want to watch football, they are an exciting team to watch. For any neutrals who are coming it could be an exciting game but I’m hoping that it is not that exciting. It is a game that we can control but it is going to take a lot of work.”

Lewis McCann was left out of the squad for last Saturday’s match at the Indodrill but the gaffer gave assurances that his striker should be part of the squad this Saturday:-

“It depends how he feels tonight with a reaction. I am hopeful, he still has a bit of a niggle but we think that he will be okay to be in the squad.

“He did not train at the start of the week, he was doing bits and pieces with the physio, he did a wee bit today but we never really do too much on a Friday. We will see how he reacts to that but I spoke to him there and he seems fine.

“He is desperate to play, desperate to be involved and we are desperate to have him involved because he adds a lot to our team and Edinburgh will remember what Lewis McCann was like at Meadowbank that day. He was excellent, he was a handful that day and he has been getting back to that recently so we want him on the pitch.”

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