Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 24th Feb 2022

24/02/22: JH - “You need to be committed, you need to be competitive and you need to do it for your club.

Having faced Kilmarnock in the last Championship match Dunfermline manager John Hughes needs no reminding that Killie’s international striker, Kyle Lafferty, requires close watching. The 34 year old from Fermanagh scored twice in the final quarter of the match at Rugby Park a week past Saturday to ensure that all three league points remained in Ayrshire and the gaffer admitted that it was going to be very difficult looking after him:-

“He`s on a good vein of form, but that`s the challenge. That`s the challenge you have to embrace, and it`s the challenge you have to be up for.”

Dunfermline had Kilmarnock watched in their home match last Saturday, a comprehensive 3-0 win over Raith Rovers with Lafferty claiming another two goals. John continued:-

“Kilmarnock were very very good. They deserved everything that they got, and there`s a wee spring in the step. They`ve got that bit of confidence about them right at this moment in time.

“Although we`re talking about an individual, I`m also talking about the team, and my team. They`ve got the pressures of trying to win games to make sure that they get promoted, we`ve got the pressures of trying to win games to make sure we stay in the league. The whole game`s got good ingredients to it, and you have to look forward to it.”

Hughes is unmoved by the prospect of yet another match against Derek McInnes’s title challengers:-

“It`s neither here or there. Does Derek change a winning team? Does he change his shape? I don`t think there`ll be many surprises.

“What I`ve noticed since I`ve come in here is it’s fine margins. On the day, if you`re at it, and somebody comes up with a bit of genius, then you can win the game, but you can also lose it if somebody makes a mistake. That goes both ways.

“It`s all about us. We stick to the process. We`ve all signed up to trusting each other, working hard for each other, and the only way you can do that is on a Saturday.

“I think the boys want to play games, they`re desperate to keep playing. It`s that consistency for 90 minutes. If we can do that, then I think that`s good enough to win matches.

“I`ve seen a massive improvement since I`ve come to the club, from them individually and collectively, from a number of aspects of what you try to implement in terms of education, in terms of having the mindset and the tactical nous to take on board what we`re trying to do.

“I`ve seen them asking questions, I`ve seen them helping each other, and I think that`s resulted in us getting one or two not bad results. You don`t sit back and rest on your laurels, you keep driving forward and keep trying to move it forward. The only way you can do that is if you keep winning football matches.”

Other teams in the bottom half of the league are doing just that but the manager pointed out that he can only look after what happens to his own team and what they do:-

“That`s where all my concentration is, on my own team. We’re still working hard to get full 90 minute performances. We`ve still got enough games to win enough games to be ok. It`s pointless worrying about other people. We concentrate on what we`re doing, stick to the process, take care of our business, and the rest will take care of itself.”

John Hughes is hoping that Bobby Kamwa will be back available for Saturday since he has resumed training, and Dan Pybus is back from Covid. The only player missing will be Aaron Comrie through suspension, and Deniz Mehmet who is nursing a finger injury.

“We’ve got good numbers to pick from” said John who has more or less dismissed bringing in any more players on loan:-

“It looks like that’s it, unless something crops up. You never know if someone might need to go out but at this moment in time we are happy. We’ve got good cover for all our positions and, although we might be one short here or there, we can cover it.”

Back at East End Park for the first match there in over a month John expressed his frustration with the way fixtures have fallen:-

“We seem to have been on the road for a long time. The last game at home was Inverness and if we put that same second half performance on, then it should be a great game.

“There is not much between the teams. Even Kilmarnock who are going for the league and us looking to stay in it, it is fine fine margins. Usually it is a bit of genius that wins you the football match or a mistake, and that can go any way. On the day if it goes your way you will probably pick up the three points. Most of the teams are that close.

“We were focused on Partick Thistle and the last time we played them we were very close and I think we’re improving every week and that’s all down to the players. Then, you bring the supporters into it. They have a massive part to play but it’s up to us to get them excited.

“I feel like there’s something happening at this club and if we can win football matches then these supporters will get right behind us, as they have done since I’ve come to the club.

“Of course there have been one or two disappointments and we have to take that on the chin — but they keep coming back for more and, if we are committed and competitive, then I know our fans will stand up and applaud us for that. As a footballer that’s a given and if you have not got that you shouldn’t be playing football.

“You need to be committed, you need to be competitive and you need to do it for your club. This is a no excuse environment and if we can combine that with playing some of the football I know we can play, then the opposition will know they’ve been in a game.”

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