Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 30th Dec 2021

JH:- “If some of the stuff that I’m seeing on the training pitch can be taken on to the pitch to play with that freedom then we could be a right good team.

John Hughes was disappointed that the cinch Championship match on Wednesday night against Inverness Caledonian Thistle fell victim of the wet weather.

“When it was called off it was a frustration but you just need to regroup and go again. The players would have been off today but that was us back in and it gives us more time to work on the training pitch. Also we are carrying one or two wee knocks so it gives them a chance.”

Everyone is now looking forward to facing Raith Rovers who sit fourth in the league level on 33 points with Kilmarnock. These two are 19 points better off than the Pars who are level on points with tenth placed, Morton:-

“We are under no illusions whatsoever that we are right in the dogfight. It is a message that is loud and clear without banging the drum too much because you don’t want to put trepidation into the players. If some of the stuff that I’m seeing on the training pitch can be taken on to the pitch to play with that freedom then we could be a right good team.

“The problem is that it only comes in bits and pieces, twenty minutes here, first half there, twenty minutes in the second half - we need consistency of performance. That is what we are working towards. They train great and I am so grateful for where we are training at Alloa. We are in a stadium, we are protected from the wind, the surface is fantastic for doing any kind of passing work and I think the boys appreciate it.

“Sometimes you are left scratching your head wondering why we cannot replicate that on a match day. It is our job to keep pushing them, keep demanding.

“We are fully aware that we could do with another couple upfront to play the game in the opposition’s half but it leaves us a little wide open. As coaches and management we have to come up with a shape that hopefully sticks the ball up the other end of the park so we can play our game but always keeping the back door shut.

“That is all the messages that we are putting in to them on tactic boards. We are battering in so much information be it on the training pitch, tactically, verbally, with video analysis and you are just hoping that they take it on board and we are better for it.”

Above: Mark Connolly joined Dunfermline, 29 September 2021

John Hughes discussed the players who are currently on loan at Dunfermline Athletic and the possibility of them staying on. The players concerned are Mark Connolly and Ross Graham on loan from Dundee United and Kai Kennedy on loan from Rangers.

“Big Mark, Rossco and Kai will all be with us for the Raith game and then we’ll sit down after that and talk to their clubs. Kai’s going to be a difficult one because Rangers never let us cup-tie him because of his game-time. He was just starting to find his feet when I came in and then he took that illness, and he’s found himself back out of the team. That might be a recall from Rangers, so that’s one we’ll look at.

“Big Ross Graham will probably be the same. Mark’s been playing, so I take it he might want to stay. If I was on loan and wasn’t playing, you want to go and play football. They’ll still be there for the Raith Rovers game and after that we’ll look at it.”

Above: Ross Graham on joining Dunfermline, 1 July 2021

The gaffer agreed that should Kennedy leave it would create a substantial gap in his squad but he would be doing his best to hang on to the nineteen year old who was on loan last season to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Raith Rovers:-

“You have to speak to the player first and try to twist his arm. Kai’s giving it ‘game-time, game-time’, like I would be saying as well, and you have to say you understand. I have to be honest to the other players, especially against Kilmarnock when we played two more workers, in terms of Dow and Toddy, and the shape looked good.

“So, Kai’s found himself out of the team and you can’t just say, ‘there you go’. I have to weigh up all the pros and cons. But one thing I can tell you is he’s a smashing boy and he’s got a massive, massive future. He can turn a game, Kai Kennedy, and if he’s here after the window then I would be absolutely delighted. He fills that left-hand side until Dom gets back - and then there’s competition for places.”

Above: Kai Kennedy in Dunfermline debut v Morton, 31 July 2021

The gaffer agreed that should Kennedy leave it would create a substantial gap in his squad but he would be doing his best to hang on to the nineteen year old who was on loan last season to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Raith Rovers:-

“You have to speak to the player first and try to twist his arm. Kai’s giving it ‘game-time, game-time’, like I would be saying as well, and you have to say you understand. I have to be honest to the other players, especially against Kilmarnock when we played two more workers, in terms of Dow and Toddy, and the shape looked good.

“So, Kai’s found himself out of the team and you can’t just say, ‘there you go’. I have to weigh up all the pros and cons. But one thing I can tell you is he’s a smashing boy and he’s got a massive, massive future. He can turn a game, Kai Kennedy, and if he’s here after the window then I would be absolutely delighted. He fills that left-hand side until Dom gets back - and then there’s competition for places.”

Above: Iain Wilson v Partick Thistle, 23 October 2021

The manager gave an update of two of his squad Reece Cole and Iain Wilson who have not been seen in match action since September and October respectively:-

“Reece Cole had a family issue last week. When he came back from London he played in the friendly match against Falkirk but he is still trying to find his feet again.

“Iain Wilson has been injured and he is just back on the training pitch but he will be fast-tracked to get him fit. Hopefully he will be banging the door down to get a place. I think that there are places in the team up for grabs and the way you train, the way you conduct yourself and in these friendly games go and be Man of the Match. If that’s the case you will get a starting slot in the starting eleven.”



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