Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Wednesday, 1st Jan 2020

02/01/20: SC - “We had won five in a row at home before the Alloa game and we have an opportunity to get into the play off positions if we beat Ayr on Saturday. It is not all doom and gloom.”

Having had what he described in his own words as a ‘lively discussion’ with his players Stevie Crawford spoke to the media this week and said:-

“After a few defeats it can be frustrating. We need to make sure the man management side is addressed and deal with players and certain individuals. Everyday is a learning day. There are things that we can get better at.

“When we look back at the last three games and the goals that we have conceded, we can do better for the majority of them.”

Do players have the same contrasting view as fans on how things could be done better, are they all different?

“They probably all have different ideas and you have to train their thoughts into a collective unit. Having watched the game back, our game plan was about having a high press right from Jamie Macdonald’s kicking, not letting Flannigan get on the ball but Alloa in the main end up getting a lot of possession against teams. I think it was 60/40 in our favour on Saturday.

“If you take the goals out of it, and I know goals win games so I am not trying to deflect from that fact that we have lost the game but there were a lot of positives within the performance other that the result. That is the main thing and I understand that.

“We have to make sure that we cut out the mistakes that we had in the game. The only way to do that is working hard on trying to address that on the training ground to them hopefully come to fruition on Saturday.”

After Alloa got ahead on Saturday it did appear that their objective was just to defend and keep Dunfermline out for the remaining 65 minutes. SC said:-

“On Saturday for twenty minutes I thought that we were dominant, thought we were very good getting crosses into the box. We possibly could have scored a few more goals like we have done on occasions this season.

“We scored a really good goal but right on the back of it you lose one and then within five minutes it goes 2-1. Alloa were then able to sit that bit deeper and look to hit us on the counter.

“I don’t think we threw caution to the wind in terms of that. I thought Lewis Martin and Ashy organised the defence well, the thing that became a little bit more frustrating was that we had to play across them maybe 18-20 yards out from goal rather than being able to try and play through them or in behind them like we had been in the earlier parts of the game. That all changed within a five minute period in the game.”

Three defeats in the last three league matches, so how hard is it going to be to half a losing streak?

“We didn’t get too carried away when we were winning games but equally you can’t get too despondent. I have said that not just to the players but to the coaching staff. We are all hurting, it is not nice going three defeats in a row.

“We have to try and be consistent, apply ourselves properly in training and we have spoken about things that we feel that we could have done better in those three games. So, let’s apply it on the training ground, we have the Ayr game to look forward to at the weekend, stop this losing run and get us off to a positive start to the new year.”

As fifth placed Pars against fourth placed Ayr United there is a great incentive for the Dunfermline players as they can leapfrog their opponents with a win:-

“The difficulty there is, and we have had a few opportunities this season as well, but I’m listening to other managers in the league and it wasn’t long ago when we were preparing for the Dundee game and James McPake had lost three games in a row.

“It is swings and roundabouts and it is not getting too low when we find ourselves on this run. We have Ayr at the weekend coming to our place. We had won five in a row at home before the Alloa game and we have an opportunity to get into the play off positions if we beat them on Saturday. It is not all doom and gloom.”

The gaffer is also pleased to see his player availability improve:-

“Danny Devine unfortunately picked up a knock in training last week. Hopefully we have him fit for the weekend and in contention for a starting place.

“We now have competition for places, both Euan Murray and Tom Lang have managed to come through a bounce game on Monday.

“There is an improvement in Tom, he has not been involved due to a hamstring injury. I think for all purposes he will be available later on in the week.

“Andy Ryan was left out after a decision to go with what I felt was the strongest bench at the weekend. With Joe Thomson coming back, Kyle Turner had had a knock the previous week and I felt that I had to get the balance right for substitutions to put on the park given the way we were set up on Saturday. Andy has trained this week as normal, there is nothing wrong with where he is at, it was just a decision we made as a coaching staff.”

Stevie went on to discuss the on loan players future:-

“There has been more communication on the loan deals, hopefully we find out soon where we are at with them. That will throw its own problems if they do get called back.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, if Anthony and Harry go back, and Greg Kiltie goes back we are going to have to try and replace players that play in those positions. We are working behind the scenes, it is not guaranteed that those players will go back, but until we hear where we are at then we just have to keep working away on things in the background.

“Josh Coley is still down at Norwich. We have to see where we are at with them. If Josh isn’t coming back then that is something that we will have to address. I think it will be mid January before we see where we are at with him.”

Asked if those on loan players stayed would he still be looking to add players in January or are you happy with what you have got?

“You never know if a player is going to chap on the door and ask to get away because not everyone in that squad is going to be happy with the game time that they have had between the summer and January. It is the same at every club.

“I am respectful if players are that way. That is just business that will be done behind closed doors. I am not aware of any players who are unhappy, if that means we go with the squad that we have got then great.”

Stevie also gave an update on his loaned out players, Callum Smith at Airdrieonians and Paul Allan at Brechin City:-

“Paul and Callum are out and the one thing that I have spoken to the Chairman on this is, that they are not out on loan to keep them out of sight. They are out to try and develop.

“We felt that it right to get Callum playing regular football, Paul has been doing great by all accounts at Brechin, they are very happy with him. Again we will have to see what January throws at us.

“If January makes it more difficult and we have to make sure that we have players that are going to have an impact on our second half of the season. If we feel that it is case of keeping these boys out on loan to develop them then we will continue that.”

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