Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Monday

Monday, 4th Apr 2022

04/04/22: JH - “Sustain that over the ninety minutes, and from now until the end of the season then I am optimistic that we can win enough games to stay in the league.”

John Hughes is fully aware that the Fife derby is a big match but stressed that every match remaining in this season’s cinch Championship is going to be a big one:-

“Everyone in this league has something to play for. There are teams that are trying to get into the play offs, teams like ourselves who are looking to stay in the league. So I am really looking forward to it.

“We have had a virus through the squad around about the time of the last game against Inverness which seems to have cleared up. They trained very well this morning and we are up against a right good team in Raith Rovers. They will be full of confidence after their cup win and we have to congratulate them on that.

“I am optimistic, if we play real good football and can sustain it for ninety minutes that Raith Rovers will know that they have been in a game.”

The manager is of the opinion that Sunday’s cup win will give Raith Rovers a lift. He feels that they will come right out of the traps on Wednesday night, firing on all cylinders.

“We know what’s coming from Raith Rovers. It’s a derby match, they’re our rivals but sometimes in football you have to take your hat off and say well done. I’m big enough and man enough to say that but hopefully they’ll be saying well done to us on Wednesday.

“We want the three points to stay here in Dunfermline so we know that we are going to have to be at our best. If we are at our best, from what I have seen over the last month, and if we can sustain that over the ninety minutes, and from now until the end of the season then I am optimistic that we can win enough games to stay in the league.”

The manager is hoping that on their return to East End Park that his side can pick up from where they left off in the Partick Thistle game:-

“When we’re at home, we want to be on the front foot and we want to entertain the supporters. I keep saying to the players that your opponent has every right to go and try to stop you. They have got every right to go on the front foot and get forward as well. That’s what makes football fantastic.

“It’s who shows that little bit more resilience and that little bit more style and class in the final third. Someone who can unlock the door with a pass or a goal.

“I’m starting to see that, I’m seeing a lot of good stuff from Dunfermline and that’s what makes me optimistic. If you win, you pick up points and if you pick up points then it takes you where you want to go.

“If you lose then you suffer the consequences and you have to embrace it. You have to use it as your fuel to go and get success. It will be the same for Raith Rovers.”

The manager is not keen on studying statistics and records that confirm home form that reveals his side are undefeated in 2022 at East End Park. He revealed he had other factors that he paid much more attention to:-

“I really try to stay away from stats and stuff. There are two things I’m big on - the way we train and the standards in which we train, and performance. I’m really big on performance. It doesn’t always get you results but if we perform then that can lead to results.

“If you’re worried about results then you forget to perform. So, let’s go and perform and see what happens. Hopefully that will be the case on Wednesday. Saying that, right where we are at this moment, if it’s a boring dull game and we sneak an own goal to win it then I’ll take it. That’s where we are.

“It’s my job every day I come in to set a standard and demand of them, and make them better individually and collectively. I’m seeing that coming together and we’ve had some good, good performances since I’ve come in.

“Now what we have to do, is do it consistently for 90 minutes and maintain it from now until the end of the season. I think these boys have got that in them.

“I’m seeing two or three, or maybe more than that, angry players on the training pitch because they’re not in the team. But they’re angry in a good way, they’ve got that head on that they want back in it. I like that, I like these guys who are not going to take it lying down. So, that brings good competition for places and keeps the guys that are in the team on their toes.”

The squad started back training on Saturday, and are looking refreshed and ready to go again. The gaffer acknowledged that there is a big month ahead for the club:-

“We know the importance of the month, it doesn`t phase us. You need to embrace it, you need to bring it on, and we all need to stick together and stay focused. There`s nothing guaranteed in football, that`s what makes it such a fantastic game. Nothing`s guaranteed and it`s fine margins. If we perform to our best, then I think that we`re a match for anyone.”

Lewis McCann has returned to training and will be back in the squad for the derby match. The only player struggling at the moment is young Paul Allan with a tight hamstring and according to the manager everybody else is fit and ready to go.

John Hughes is also delighted to have Bobby Kamwa, the 22 year old striker on loan from Leeds United, available to him:-

“He`s looking sharp in training. I like strikers on my bench, if you`re going to make substitutions, get them on. I still think Bobby has to get up to speed in terms of 90 minutes, but he`s still got that 45 minutes, half-an-hour, right at this moment in time to come on and hopefully light the game up.

“Hopefully, from now until the end of the season, he`ll have a big part to play, and the fans will be singing that song they sing about him.”

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