Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 11th Oct 2018

11/10/18: Stevie stays

Media reports have suggested that the newly appointed Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has mentioned that he would like the Pars reserve team manager and first team coach, Stevie Crawford, to join up with him at Tannadice but manager Allan Johnston said of the speculation:-

"We`ve had no contact from Dundee Utd in regards to Stevie Crawford. The chairman (Ross McArthur) sat down with Stevie today during which Stevie indicated he wants to stay with Dunfermline Athletic.

“Stevie is a top coach and has been great to work with. The youth players have taken to him brilliantly and he`s a massive part of our team so we`re delighted that he`s staying."

That news will be an important boost for everyone around East End Park ahead of the Third Round match in the Irn Bru Cup against Alloa Athletic. The gaffer revealed that the competition has a place without being a priority for this season:-

“Confidence wise you want to keep winning. The last thing you want to do when you have been on a roll winning games is let yourself down. We need to make sure that we put in a good performance. Obviously the league is our priority but it is still good to win games and getting the habit of winning games.

“I have won this cup before at Queens, it is always great to win something. It is not the League or the Scottish Cup but it is still a good competition to win. So we are hopefully we can get there.”

The winners of the first round against Inverness Caley Thistle were a young and inexperienced side, then at Boreham Wood the manager fielded a strong starting eleven so when asked what sort of team would be fielded this Saturday, he replied:-

“It will more an experience team. There might be a couple of changes but that will be the maximum. The boys have been doing well recently, they want to keep playing, they want to keep putting in good performances and we want to keep on getting wins. That is the challenge.”

The recent league match against Alloa ended up 0-0 and demonstrated just how hard a team Jim Goodwin’s men are this season?

“They have had a lot of draws because the get behind the ball really well. They press the ball in the middle of the park and are hard to beat. We have to make sure that we come up with a solution to try and beat that. Obviously try and show our quality and get some goals because they make in difficult, defend the box really well.

“When teams are sitting deep they try and hit you on the counter attack especially when you are trying to go forward. You have to be aware of that as well.”

Dunfermline have taken six league points from the last two games, something that Allan Johnston felt overdue:-

“We have said that it was coming but you need to put in performances on the pitch. We need to get wins, keep on progressing the way we have been just now and keep building momentum. We are going in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.”

A visit to The Falkirk Stadium is never easy and there is always potential to lose points in a derby but AJ said of last Saturday’s 2-0 win:-

“It is a hard place to go and come the end of the season I’m sure Falkirk will not be where they are just now. We were delighted to get the result. We took a big support to the game so it is always that much sweeter when you get the three points.”

On the injury front, the manager reported that Kallum Higginbotham and Lewis Martin both trained on Wednesday for the first time, and suggested it will take him a period of time to build up to match fitness.

“You cannot rush players. Tom Beadling and Louis Martin are getting closer and closer to inclusion. The boys are playing well just now but it will be good when they are a fully fit.”

Also approaching fitness is Aidan Keena, on loan from Hearts and AJ is happy to have another player challenging for a place in his team:-

“He did well today in training, he looked really sharp but he has not played a lot though. It is different when you play full size games. He has been out with an injury as well but showed with his quality today that you can see that he is going to bring something to the team. It is good when you have options like that.

“It is dealing with the pressure if you don’t do well and somebody taking your place. That is the hard park, whereas when you are playing with the reserves you can get away with a few average games and no one takes your place. That is the challenge when you step up to the first team especially with the squad that we have at the moment.”

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