Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 9th Dec 2021

09/12/21: JH - “We need to entertain and create more goalscoring chances, get at teams and get after teams a wee bit more.

Ahead of the important home game against Queen of the South this Saturday Dunfermline manager John Hughes claimed that his team needs a belief in themselves and described the current progress as ‘fits and starts’:-

“It is one step forward, two steps back. We can tick a box here but there are still so many boxes that we need ticked. One of them is to get a good performance away from home to pick up the win.

“We are constantly challenging the players to come up with the goods. Effort and commitment is not in question, we just need to go forward and have a real belief in ourselves that when we are at our best we are a right good team.

“They have to believe that, in every game, they can turn out and produce the goods required to win games.”

Having had time to reflect on last weekend’s defeat to Hamilton Academical John felt that the assessment he gave after the game was spot on:-

“For twenty minutes we were the better team. Hamilton then took control of the match and there wasn’t much in it in the second half. Even within the first half we had the better chances. The penalty and the sending off changed the whole game.”

Down to ten men for the final thirty minutes John praised his players for standing up well to the situation they found themselves in:-

“We were chasing it and we had to suffer a lot putting substitutes on just to give us a focal point. There was no point in everybody dropping back the pitch. When we get possession we had to turn it over and get there. I felt that they worked really hard just to keep us in the game.”

With the transfer window opening in January the Pars boss is already forming his opinions on what his team requires. One or two players with more experience would strengthen his squad and he would love to be able to extend current loanee Mark Connolly’s stay at East End Park:-

“Mark Connolly is a manager’s dream and we will need to see what Dundee United’s plans are for him. He is a good professional, he gets the boys going, he trains well and demands of them on the training pitch. Big Rhys Breen will learn off him.

“We need that experience, I still think that we are a bit short of experience and Mark certainly brings that. Dowser brings that, Dorrans brings that but we could do with another one or two just to help them out.

“They are a good bunch, they give me everything that they’ve got and they listen. We are trying to implement what we are working on, it doesn’t always happen. We say to them that what we want them to do we can do. You need to believe and trust in each other to keep moving forward.

“We won at Inverness and against Ayr and the other two games have been very very close, we have always been in the game. But we need to entertain and create more goalscoring chances, get at teams and get after teams a wee bit more.

“After a match you look at it, you analyse it, gather your thoughts and come in saying this is what we need to do, this is what needs improved and this needs to be better without ripping the book up and starting again or you would be back to square one.

“What we try and do on the training pitch is all game related. This is what will happen on Saturday, this is what happened on Saturday, how can we do it better individually and collectively?”

Hughes described Mark Connolly as different class and he was pleased to see the 29 year old Irish defender enjoying his football:-

“Just let him enjoy it until the time comes. He is doing very well for us at the moment. I have a sneaky feeling that he won’t want to go back to Dundee United and not be playing football. We have four more games until the window opens up, we will just leave it until then.”

After a lengthy period out Lewis Martin (above left) returned to action in last week’s friendly against Hibs and the manager would like to see more of the out of contract defender. The 25 year old who has made more than 150 appearances for Dunfermline last featured in the Championship match away to Partick Thistle immediately before lockdown in March 2020. John Hughes commented:-

“Lewis Martin did really well, he got thirty minutes, he is injury free and has been training every day. We were looking to get a bounce match this week because he needs game time.

“The way he conducts himself he certainly catches the eye. He has been here for a number of years and he can play in a number of positions. I am asking a lot of questions about him, he can play right across the back and he is a well liked boy who gets his head down but he needs to get fit in terms of up to speed.”

Watch John Hughes speak to Jordan Burt on ParsTV

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