Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 8th Jul 2021

08/07/21: PG - “If we’re going to play Real Madrid on Saturday would I expect to win? Probably not, but the bottom line is that I know that we are going in to play Partick Thistle and I know that we are capable of winning the game.

Peter Grant is looking forward to the Premier Sports Cup kicking off with the away tie against Partick Thistle. He claimed that he loves cup ties because he always views them as an opportunity to get to Hampden:-

“Dreams as kids are of playing in cup finals at Hampden and that never ever leaves you. I am the exact same as a manager. I am hungry for success. I want to be successful, I want to win trophies, I want to win games and you try to bring that into your players.

“That is what I’m here to try and do - win. I never go in frightened anyone, I respect everybody that we play. I have always respected my opponent and I know that we are going in against very difficult teams but I know that we have very good players and I have got to give that respect that I know we can go in and win games.

“If we’re going to play Real Madrid on Saturday would I expect to win? Probably not, but the bottom line is that I know that we are going in to play Partick Thistle and I know that we are capable of winning the game. Ian McCall will probably be saying the same thing to his players but I know that we are more than capable of winning it as well.

“As I say, we will show them the utmost respect but we are going there to try and win the game as we will do against St Mirren.”

As for player availability for Saturday the manager reported the normal aches and pains from pre season training:-

“You are training really hard and then you are playing the game within twenty four hours sometimes but it is the only way that you can get the fitness. Mentally I think it is a good thing because I am not a believer in three day recoveries. If you got a Sunday off you used to be lucky.

“You have to put the work into the legs. When you were younger you played every hour that God sent and I don’t see any difference to that now. It is the best game in the world, it is not as if you are going down a pit or something like that. If you cannot play two games of football in two days or one in the morning and one in the afternoon think that there is something wrong.

“I understand the medical reasons but for me you have to take players above and beyond so that they know that they can go there. That is important, the game never lasts for ninety minutes. It could be 95 and go into extra time. All these things you have to be prepared for.

“We monitor it, we are not stupid and I’m up to date with modern day methods in that respect. I am very aware of that but we have to make sure that we do not molly coddle them either. The boys know that it is important to get the work into their legs and to be fair to a man they have been absolutely brilliant.

“It has been more knocks from tackles that we have picked up on training and that is just timing being out because the boys have had time off. That happens in football. Hopefully those ones will all be available.

“The longer term ones are getting closer each week which is great. I am delighted about that because the ones who are missing are big players for us. Hopefully we will have them to call upon plus, as I said, a few new bodies in and then you are looking at a completely different strength and depth to your squad.”

Peter says that he will continue to watch the loan market as well trying to get in players on Dunfermline contracts:

“You don’t know who is going to be available. You know what clubs are like, they keep players in as part of their squad and then all of a sudden they change their mind. Either they sign someone and then all of a sudden he is maybe available because he is out of that eighteen to twenty player first team squad.

“The ones that we are trying to get in are probably substitutes in their first team if they are on the Premiership or down in England in the Championship. They are probably not starters but on the periphery with quality. Maybe it is for different reasons - younger players coming through with a bright future or maybe more senior players who are still part of that group but the manager is not sure if they are going to be part of their long term plans.

“We are very aware of what kind of players we are fishing. We know the types that we are wanting, that is always the secret. If you know the types of players you want and the what you are looking for. It is not just a scatter gun looking for a midfielder, what does that mean? It is the type of midfielder I want.

“I know that there are a hell of a lot of good players out there but I don’t want to bring in players who are the same as our good players. I would rather bring on somebody who gives us some different so that we can change systems or the way that we play.

“If we is a winger is he a different type of winger to the one that we have already got. We need to build a squad and that is the way that we are trying to do it.

“I am very pleased with the boys who have come in, if we get the others in I am sure people will be excited about seeing them when they do.”

The manager smiled as he dismissed the suggestion that the Premier Sports Cup matches would “work in progress”.

“Absolutely, but it was work in progress with Alloa last year and we got to the quarter final. I think every game that I have ever taken part in I wanted to win and wanted to play well in. There will be no excuses, no work in progress. I want to win on Saturday, I feel that I have a team that is capable of on Saturday, I feel that I have a team that is capable of winning on Tuesday.

“I don’t disrespect the players who are here, I know that they can win games of football, I know that they can play really well.

“The first period on Saturday I was delighted with, they played some good stuff. In the second half the changes changed the dynamic a little bit. Obviously I was disappointed with the goals that we conceded but the general play I was chuffed with.

“I know that we are more than capable of going into any game, even at this moment in time and playing well and winning. But I know that we definitely need strength to the group because we don’t have a big group and last weekend we only had two substitutes. That tells you enough but it was because of the injuries that we had.

“We will definitely have one or two in by this time next week and hopefully there will be more coming. Probably another three but I’d look for another four, five or six in the door to bolster the squad.”

When it comes to bringing in trialists covid restrictions make it less than straightforward but the manager does feel that the full time nature of the club is a benefit:-

“We are learning to live with it as this moment in time. We are delighted with the group that we have and the good thing for me is that if I do manage to get someone from a Premiership club because we are full time, it is a little but easier because they don’t need to go back into the club’s bubble because they are still getting full time training with us.

“You are spaced out in gymnasiums now and allowed to get their gym work in whereas last year they were not allowed to go back into the bubble. They became part time players, there was no gymnasium to be used so these issues are a wee bit more relaxed now but where they stay when they come up for a short term trial is a problem.”

Having just used the word trial then expressed his dislike of the term:-

“I don’t like using the word trial because it is not the fact of that. You can’t put another word to it but it is just getting a look at them because you maybe haven’t seen them for a long time. Some of these young players are really talented boys but people have got to remember, some of them have not played since at least February because of different situations.

“Some of the boys down in England have had a lot of training but they have not had many games. They have had no matches and as anybody would tell you match fitness is completely different from training.”

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