Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 21st Jan 2021

21/01/21: SC - “we have won four of our five league games at home. That is decent form in my eyes ....

With just one defeat in their eight matches this season at East End Park, Stevie Crawford is hoping his side can continue its fine home form, when Ayr United are the visitors on Saturday.

“I’m aware that we have drawn four of the last five but whether it is down to the weather, the fixtures that we have faced have probably not been kind when you look at them on paper.

“We went up to Dundee and got a draw there. Then again up at Inverness. Raith Rovers were in a great run of form when we went there. I know that we did not play particularly well in the first half against Raith Rovers but we showed a great spirit and played some decent football in the second half of the game. Possibly we could have won the game but equally Raith could have won the game.

“Then we go down to Morton and one of the tests for us at the weekend was that we had not played since the Inverness game. Albeit we never cut them open by creating chances but out of the six games we have played away from home we have drawn five and beaten Alloa.

“The positive from that, if you flip it, we have won four of our five league games at home. That is decent form in my eyes and it is not getting caught up in winning one game in the last six. Looking at some of the positives at some of the venues we have gone to, we have competed in these games where we could possibly have won the games.”

The most recent of course, was at Cappielow, a recently notoriously difficult venue for Dunfermline and many others. Having reviewed the game Stevie was pleased that Morton were restricted to crosses and Lewis Strapp’s long throws into the box. Morton did not have a single shot on target and Stevie observed:-

“I don’t think big Owain has had a save to make so on that side it was very pleasing. We could be a little more creative and clinical in the final third of the pitch but in terms of our application and attitudes we have come away with a point.

“Again I have said on record that maybe this time twelve months ago we might have come away with our tail between our legs having not picked up anything.”

The goals just didn’t come on Friday night despite 15 shots being registered in the match statistics:-

“We work on crosses and finishing drills every week. There were half chances in the game but I think we have to be respectful of Morton. They were in a decent bit of form and they never gave us an easy time on Friday night.

“It is just sometimes the weight of the pass or the type of cross into the box that allows you the opportunity to step on and try and score a goal. So we are not too downbeat about it. We came away with a clean sheet and it gives you something to take confidence from. Now we are very much looking to the Ayr game at East End at the weekend.”

East End Park is a decent surface even through the harder times of the season. The pitch is being worked on and it is in a lot better place than it was maybe ten days ago. Stevie said that his side is looking forward very much to playing on it at the weekend. The Cappielow pitch did not help either side and Dunfermline altered their strategy to compensate for it:-

“We tried to play it narrower down at Cappielow but still keep our creative players on the park - Dom and Dowser. Our game plan was to play it a little bit narrower so that we were picking up second balls and hopefully then they could get on the ball and show what they can do going forward.

“It was very difficult on the night with the state of the pitch. That is no criticism of Morton because the weather that we have faced over the last couple of weeks has been very difficult and all credit to them for getting the game on.

“I am not one for making excuses but we are going to face challenging times over the next couple of months and weeks. You have to try and adapt to that the best you can, be on the front foot and in a positive mindset. If things are going to fall for you in the box you have got to be ready to take them.”

With League One currently suspended latest signing Kyle Macdonald could be in the squad for Saturday revealed Stevie the 21 year old is all tuned up to play for the Pars:-

“Airdrie have done business with us and part of the deal with Kyle will be, if League One football gets up and running again, Kyle will go back to Airdrie for the remainder of the season.

“At the moment he has trained with us, he has fitted in, he had to sing in front of the boys for his initiation on Monday. All socially distanced, he had to sing in the middle of a group of boys and it certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve heard. I’m sure he is enjoying being part of the Dunfermline squad now. If he continues to train like he has he will very much come into our plans and thoughts for the weekend.”

As for the rest of the squad, there is a slight concern about Fraser Murray:-

“It is his other hamstring believe it or not. I don’t think that it is anything too sinister, he did not train with the group and being doing work with Gary and Jamie.

“I thought he had a decent impact when he came on at the weekend but again it is just one of those things. Maybe the lack of him being training and he has just tweaked his other hamstring when he came on Friday night. We will need to see where he is at come the weekend.”

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