Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 26th Jul 2018

26/07/18: “We have good strength in depth and some good young players coming through as well.

Speaking after the official club team photo, Allan Johnson confirmed that Lee Ashcroft would be club captain this season:-

“He has been different class the last couple of seasons since we brought him here. He was Player of the Season and I think I voted for him the season before as well. He was Mr Consistent, he is a leader and has an old head on young shoulders. I think that he will fit the bill perfectly.”

Lee led out the team at Glebe Park on Wednesday night and his manager is taking great satisfaction from what is being produced on the playing field:-

“When you look at the performances since we started the competitive games, they have been really good. We have been scoring goals, not conceding many goals so it looks really bright at the moment.”

A new season and new players could have created concern that they might not gel that fast but it does not look like that now. AJ agreed that it always takes time but added:-

“You know that they are good players, you wouldn’t have signed them in the first place is they weren’t. It does take a wee while until they get to know each other but they have bonded really well.

“There is a really good atmosphere in the dressing room and amongst the players. We just need to make sure that we continue with the standards that we have set already this season.”

The manager praised Faissal El Bakhtaoui after he scored twice in the 45 minutes that he played at Brechin.

“He looked electric, some of his touches, his work rate everything was the type of quality that we have been trying to bring in. That is how we are delighted to get him on board.

“He is playing as a striker, that is where he wants to play. You can see that he is a goal threat, looking to get shots away continually.”

Faissal appeared to instantly hit it off with Myles Hippolyte, AJ continued:-

“I thought the two of them played well together. They created a lot of chances, scored goals. These can be hard games when you go to places where you are expected to win. They were set up to try and frustrate us and make it difficult.

“It was a really good team performance, it wasn’t just about individuals. We just have to make sure that we keep on building on that. You could see the confidence and togetherness building.”

With nine points Dunfermline have to be favourites to win their Betfred Cup group but the manager is looking for another win against Stirling Albion on Saturday to make that unchallengeable.

“We will take it one game at a time, make sure that we win and another good performance in the build up to the first league game.

“There are no easy games and it will be the same in the league season as well. We know how competitive that is going to be. There will be a lot of twists and turns throughout the season.

“We have competition in all areas so that should keep the players focused. We have versatility to go three at the back, we didn’t really have that last season.

“Last season we played with a back four for the majority of the time and we had a good defensive record, so we are not worried about changing it to a four. It gives you flexibility in games if we are maybe not breaking teams down. We are more of a threat when we have that ability to change.”

With attacking full backs like Jackson Longridge and Ryan Williamson they make ideal wing backs when there are three at the back. The manager felt that was no better illustrated than in Sunday’s victory in the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park when Ryan got forward to deliver a great ball for Jackson to finish off with a well timed header at the far post. He claimed to be happy with his squad but concluded:-

“You are always looking for good players, if somebody came available” admitted the manager. “But I think we have good strength in depth and some good young players coming through as well. It is great when have young guys improving continuously making such an impact in pre season.”

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