Manager on MondayMonday, 24th Feb 2020
24/02/20: SC out to close the five point gap between sixth placed Dunfermline and second placed Inverness
Manager Stevie Crawford is hoping that this Tuesday night will see his team back in competitive action for the first time in just over 3 weeks. Defeated by the wet and windy weather, the postponement of Saturday`s match at Partick Thistle left the club without a fixture for three successive weekends but everyone knows the stormy and wintry conditions are impossible to avoid. He told the media this lunchtime:-
"It is just what it is at the moment. It is not ideal but it is just something that you have to overcome and prepare properly for the Inverness game tomorrow night. We managed to train at Airdrie on Saturday when the game was called off against Partick Thistle. We played a bounce game amongst ourselves, it wasn`t ideal but it was important to get some conditioning into the boys as well and they came through that without any scares so it is all good on that side.”
While Dunfermline were sidelined due to the weather and others being in cup competitions, Inverness have played two cup games and a Championship match on Friday night that they lost 2-1 to Dundee United.
Stevie admitted that whilst bounce games are is not as competitive as a real game but he claimed that is players are desperate for Tuesday night`s game to come:-
“That is a good sign and looking back at the GPS that shows the ground that they covered, conditioning wise they are there. The test will be when the next fixture comes up to see if we have that match sharpness. I don`t see it being a problem, they work hard in training on a daily basis and they apply themselves properly so as long as we do that then we should be okay when we come up against Inverness tomorrow night.”
Despite not being able to attend the Inverness match at Tannadice, Stevie has watched the video back twice. He had his usual match reporters covering the match since Inverness and Dundee United are the Pars next two opponents:-
“We are all aware that Inverness have a physicality about them. Jordan White leads the line, James Keatings is very clever in behind him. I know Doran has not been playing in recent matches but Walsh and Storey started on Friday night and Doran is always an option for Robbo to bring in. It can be any two from three it comes to to Carson, Trafford and James Vincent in the middle of the park. Tremarco and Rooney are regulars at full back but he has had to change the two centre backs in recent games because he has lost Coll Donaldson and Jamie McCart.
“The boys know what they are up against. We know Inverness’ strengths and weaknesses, it is going to be a very tough game but one that we will be prepared for.”
This is the clubs third meeting of the season and Inverness have won both games so far, 1-0 and 2-0 up in Inverness.
“There was nothing in the game when we played them down here the first time. We had one of our more disappointing performances of the season in terms of a goal threat but having said that there were a couple of chances in the first half. We did not play to the levels that we hoped to up Inverness that day.
“The good thing that you can take if anything, from a defeat is that the boys knew that we had not played to the levels of performance that we had hoped. There have not been too many of these days this season in terms of coming away thinking that we got what we deserved. It will be a difficult match and one in which we think we can cause Inverness problems
“As far as I`m aware the pitch is playable at the moment but this morning we had to train along at Michael Woods indoors because there was snow up at Kelty. It is just one of those things and as far as I am led to believe the pitch is playable at this moment in time but it is the Scottish weather that we are up against. You cannot guarantee anything but the pitch normally holds up well at East End, so fingers crossed that this match goes ahead
It is a big week for Dunfermline who play home games back-to-back against teams sitting in second placed and top of the division. The manager said he thought it dangerous to talk about the Dundee United game.
“We are very much focused on the Inverness one. For as much as there is a short turnaround in that period, I do not want the boys thinking anything other than the Inverness game. Likewise myself we have played against them a couple of times already this season but the sole focus has to be on Inverness tomorrow night.
“We played at Airdrie on Saturday, we kicked off around one ‘o clock and it was sunny, it then became windy very dark quickly there was snow on the pitch and we thought that we were only going to get 25 minutes but the sun came out again, the pitch was clear and we managed to get an hour.
“The weather is always something that comes up at this time of year but in Scotland when would the right time be to have a break? I do not think it will ever change to tell you the truth, you just have to deal with the weather the way it is on any given day. The wind becomes a problem because if the ball cannot be sat down for a set play then I can understand the frustration and that is when when the weather has to be taken into consideration that games should be played.
“I go back 20 years when I was playing and the same questions were getting asked. Do you have a winter break, do you bring the season forward and try and play it between March and November? I really don`t know the answer to that.
“As a football player you just want to go out and play games. The question is when is the right time to call a game off because there are supporters travelling and there are frustrations that come from that. I don`t think there is anything we can do to deal with the Scottish weather.”
East End Park as not seen a match since the Friday night game against Dundee on 24th January. Dunfermline’s last home game on a Saturday was the first Saturday of 2020 and Stevie felt that seems ages ago and it also brings frustration for the fans:-
“I can feel it about the place not just the players and coaching staff but the people working here, they want to see a game of football here at at East End.
Hopefully it will not be a disappointing performance tomorrow night. The fans are looking forward to it since we are on the back of two wins and and when you see the results at the weekend just how close this league is.
“With Inverness losing on on Friday night it keeps that 5 point gap between themselves and us. There is still an 8 point gap between us and Partick Thistle. It is an exciting league and every team will fancy their chances of getting into the playoffs. Equally we want to stay away from the relegation zone.”
Tuesday night’s fixture is the first in a series of fixtures which will have Dunfermline playing two matches each week. This will not create concern since SC feels that every other team is going to face similar schedules.
“You do not want to pick up injuries but if we do, that is why we have a squad. The important thing for us is that players who may be disappointed that they are not starting at this moment in time are training properly, preparing properly and when game time does come their way, they are ready to take. We are going to need everybody.“
The manager confirmed that he has a full squad to choose from with the exception of Dylan Duncan who has some swelling on his foot. He is the only one who is not available for selection tomorrow night.
Stevie confirmed that he had not heard when the Partick Thistle match might be re arranged for.
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