Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Monday

Monday, 27th Sep 2021

27/09/21: PG - “I know this is a game I can’t have people at 50 per cent, it is so important that everybody is as close to full fitness as they can.

Peter Grant is hoping that the re-arranged fixture against Raith Rovers on Wednesday night can provide his side with their much wanted league victory. He told the media on Monday:-

“We are obviously looking forward to a derby match, it is great for everyone. The supporters get wound up by it, it is so important to them as well as it is to the club. We know that it is a very difficult fixture.

“People ask how do you prepare for local derby matches, you never can. On that evening you can be prepared but who handles it well enough? For fifteen minutes it was a great atmosphere the last time we were there, it was a fantastic for a game of football but unfortunately the lights went out for everyone.

“It is only fair, you want supporters to be safe and well and we can understand the reasons why. Hopefully on Wednesday night we can put on a performance more than capable of winning the game. We started that game well but it was only fifteen minutes so we cannot take anything away from that.

“Our preparation has been completely different in the four weeks since. There have been a few changes in both camps whether it is injuries, suspensions or whatever. We know the players, they know us well enough and we know that it is two teams who are capable of beating anyone in this division.

“John McGlynn did a fantastic job there last season, he lost a couple of players but he has replaced very well if you look at his group of players there is a good mixture of experience- boys who have been around the league for a long time, understand the league and have been at the club for a long time. They understand John’s philosophy in how he wants to play.”

Peter is hoping that he has the players to handle the occasion well enough to come out on top.

“I’d take a victory right away. We’re desperate to win a game of football. That’s the be-all and end-all. I am looking forward to the game because there are match winners on both sides.

“For that first league win to be a local derby would be magic. I would have hoped that first win would happen a long time ago but that hasn’t been the case. That ‘W’ in front of our name is all that matters.

“You need to try to see it as just another game but that’s very difficult. I’ve been involved in a hell of a lot of derbies, wherever I’ve been, and I know the pride the supporters have. There’s nothing better than going to your work the next day with those bragging rights.”

Fire in the belly and a cool brain are what is required for big occasions like a Fife derby claimed the Pars manager:-

“People ask ‘what was it like to play in the game or that game?’ And it’s so difficult to describe. I suppose it would be like asking a lady what it’s like to be pregnant - I don’t know! It’s the same being a player, some handle it well, some don’t.”

Turning to his increasingly injury list Peter revealed that he has “probably lost a couple for the game” and with the quick turnaround from Saturday to Wednesday that is exasperated:-

“Three or four didn’t train on Monday morning. However, I will give everyone and opportunity right up to kick off. They might not get much training — if any — before then, but I won’t rule anyone out at this stage. It will be a tough call.

“It’s great credit to all the players who have been in the building trying to get fit in time. We know how important the game is. They are all desperate to be involved .That’s part of football and I’m sure everyone in the division is the same.

“That’s why we’ve built a squad capable of replacing these guys and — although it’d be great if they weren’t all in the one position — we just have to deal with it.”

Nikolay Todorov has had a problem with his foot for the last few weeks and Peter said that they have been trying to manage it.

“But he is a brilliant character in terms of wanting to play every match. When you have an injury, that seems to be the place you always get kicked! Unfortunately, that is what happened with Nikolay but I know his character and what he is trying to do — and how desperate he is to play.

“I know this is a game I can’t have people at 50 per cent, it is so important that everybody is as close to full fitness as they can. If someone is unavailable, that is an opportunity for someone else to step in and stake their claim.”

Peter Grant and Thomas Meggle watched Raith defeat Partick Thistle on Sunday and the manager feels that it is important that the German director comes to see the games:-

“I like to have that relationship with whoever I am working with. It’s not just about Peter Grant. My job is to go and make sure that we are prepared for every game as best we can — but I don’t know everything.

“I don’t have all the answers, regardless of experience. Someone might say something and you think ‘I never thought of that’ or vice-versa. It also allows Thomas to get a sense of what I am talking about, because he might look at games totally differently too.

“I’ve worked with top players, at a really high level in the English Premiership and I am still learning all the time.

“It’s great to have that relationship and I’m an open book. I have always been that way. I work hard at my job, am desperate to do well for the club, desperate to win games for the club and I think they [the board] see that.

“Hopefully, we can get the results on the table that the team deserves. We need to earn that and hopefully that is around the corner for us.”

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