Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 30th Jan 2020

30/01/20: SC - “We have been in games where we have scored goals but when we started chasing games that we made ourselves a little bit more vulnerable.

The penultimate day of the January transfer window saw Stevie Crawford secure the on loan signing of Hamilton Academical goalkeeper Owain Fôn Williams. He was delighted to bring in a keeper who has a wealth of experience:-

“Owain can only be a good thing for us. Obviously a difficult situation for Cammy Gill and Ryan Scully with another experienced keeper coming in. I am sure with the way they two are that they will get their heads down, get on with it and compete for that number one jersey.

“When we found out that there was an opportunity to bring him in we felt that it was right for us to try and climb this league.

“He is 32 years of age, he has over 400 games experience. Albeit he has one cap for Wales, he has been involved in that international set up for a number of years.

“The brutal reality is that he will be coming here to start games of football. Like anybody if the form is not there then we would be looking at possibly having to change it but I don’t foresee with Owain coming in that being something that we have to worry about at the moment.”

The other signing was Scott Cusick a 17 year old prospect who joins from Celtic until the end of the season. A trialist in the recent reserve match against Dundee United, his involvement is likely to continue at that level. SC expanded:-

“He has been in training on and off for a number of weeks now. We were alerted that he was going to be freed by Celtic. He has been limited to the number of games that he has played in the last season but Greg Shields more so than myself, spent a fair bit of time on the player who we see potential in.

“He has good feet, an attacking minded player and he is very keen to get his head down and come and commit his future to Dunfermline. We have been really impressed with his work ethic.

“It is nice to see a player come in from Celtic, for whatever reason it has not worked out for him there, that is keen to commit albeit his short term future to the club.”

Work ethic was also in the forefront of the gaffer’s assessment of the last Championship match at home to Dundee:-

“When we got the GPS results back there was no significant change in terms of the ground that the boys had covered but I think collectively, the jobs that they were asked, something that we had worked on for a couple of weeks to try to get that shape out of possession better.

“We have been in games where we have scored goals but when we started chasing games that we made ourselves a little bit more vulnerable.

“It is easy sitting here just now talking about it but when you are caught up in the games itself. You are trying to do something that you think is probably right and it is actually the wrong thing that you are doing. We addressed it, we put more triggered points to the boys and I think Cammy (Gill) had quite a quiet night considering it was a good Dundee side that we were up against.

“The feedback was that Dundee looked disappointing, I think that is a bit harsh because they have very good talent, good players and credit to the boys who played that we kept them quiet on the night.”

The win over Dundee is a boost that will be definitely be used going into the Queen of the South game on Saturday but Stevie warned about the tightness of the Championship table:-

“Yes, but we are seven points off Inverness in second place and we are six points off Partick. Other than Dundee United, Robbie (Neilson), his coaching staff and his playing staff probably every manager is saying the same. ‘How do you get that bit of consistency that allows you to put on a run to take you away from the bottom end of the table?’

“It is that close but the pleasing thing for is that it was there for everybody to see what it meant to the players and the club, that after that run of five disappointing games, we managed to respond on the right manner and we find ourselves in fifth just a point behind Dundee now.”

On player availability Owain Fôn Williams and Jonathan Afolabi have been added to the squad, Lewis Martin and Tom Beadling are back in reckoning having recovered from injury and illness.

“Tom Beadling has ended up not with tonsillitis but an ear infection that gave him swollen glands. He has managed to train and did conditioning work. He is probably a bit rusty but hopefully he will be back for the weekend.

“It has not been easy for Tom. He has faced a couple of things this season already but he is back on the training pitch and that is a positive thing.”

Stevie confirmed that Lewis Martin who missed his first match of the season on Friday against Dundee, is expected to be available for the weekend as well.

Euan Murray returns to Palmerston Park where he sustained a serious injury in August that was to keep him out for five months of the season.

“It was a freak incident at the time, just the way he fell. I said at the time that there was no malice in it. He has played down there a number of times and Euan will be fine.”

Stevie stressed what a huge miss Euan was while out injured:-

“He is a man and doesn’t hide from anything. He played against Morton in a role which I know he has played at previous clubs but thrown in there for 65 minutes when he is not fully fit and then going and playing at left back on Friday night.

“Dundee actually flipped a 4-4-2 to change and try and get themselves back in the game. They brought on Oliver Crankshaw who they had just signed who had fresh legs. He didn’t buckle under that and Dom Thomas was terrific in front of him in terms of his work ethic as well.

“Euan has a knack of being able to bring the boys together through a difficult spell in a game. He has been one that we have missed this season.”

Matthew Todd, Lewis McCann and Paul Allan all signed two year extensions to their contracts. Look out for comments from the trio and Stevie Crawford on Friday.

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