Manager on ThursdayThursday, 28th Jul 2022
28/07/22: JMc - “Alloa are back here and it’s an opportunity to put it right at the start of our league campaign which now becomes our full focus until the Scottish Cup comes around.”
Dunfermline manager James McPake has taken time to recover from his team’s failure to qualify for the next round of the Premier Sports Cup, analyse the performance and try to see the positives from last Saturday’s match against Alloa Athletic.
“On Saturday night I was so frustrated that I couldn’t even have a beer! It is weird, you watch the Grand Prix and then I watch our game and I have a completely different outlook by the time I went to sleep on Sunday. When you watch the game back we were actually good in the game but it’s hard for people to hear because we are out of the cup.
“In terms of clear cut chances we should have been out of sight. We know that but you have to put them away, you have got to be ruthless. Certain parts of the performance were good but it was more a frustration on our part that we are not taking those chances.
“You go away and you settle down a bit. Would I rather be in this position of not taking chances rather than not making them? Absolutely, so that’s the positive and we will continue to work. They are a good honest bunch, they work hard and there are a lot of good things happening, it is early on to where we want to be. There were a lot of positives.
“The response at training has been brilliant. That was a wee bit of a worry for me on Saturday night /Sunday thinking when you have got those chances, it is a body blow that you don’t qualify for the next round of the cup. People might say different, but I believe that we had done enough to get through the group.
“Performance-wise we were the better team in all the games but if you don’t take your chances you get what you deserve and the reason we are out of the cup is solely down to that. We put a lot of work into that and we are disappointed not to be through because for us it is a really important competition.
“The league is the most important thing for us but that cup is huge. I will not shy away from it, I am disappointed that we are not through. It’s a big competition and this club has got through every group stage that they have been involved in.
“As a manager, I have always got through it every time that I have been in it apart from this season as well. I wanted to continue that but we need to put it to bed now because we have a massive game on Saturday. Alloa are back here and it’s an opportunity to put it right at the start of our league campaign which now becomes our full focus until the Scottish Cup comes around.”
As a new manager at a new club James naturally wants to hit the ground running in the league The players returned to training this week determined to register a win when Alloa Athletic return for the first fixture in League One. James continued:-
“They have come in, they have been bright. You cannot fool players, they know themselves that they are creating chances, they are playing well in games but what we need to be is more ruthless.
“Every league game is massively important, will it define our season? No, but it can give us a good platform to go into the next week. You are always trying to win games of football, we are disappointed with Saturday so we need to use that. The cliche is the fuel, the motivation to go into that game this week.
“Alloa will be tough again, they will come and try and be stuffy. Credit to them they tried to play a fair bit of football without really hurting us. Obviously they took their chance but really Alloa had two, one of them went in and it cost us a place in the next round of the cup. That’s probably why I was so frustrated after the game on Saturday because we did have enough chances. It is not just the strikers, we are getting chances all over the pitch.
“It is hard for me, hard for the players but if we keep making these chances it is up to us as a coaching staff and the players - they have got to take responsibility as well - but we have to put sessions on that gets the confidence up to where they feel every time they are in front of goal they are going to score.
“We will get there, we just need to keep believing in what we are doing. It is early but I think that we can see that there is plenty in there that can hurt teams not just in our league. There is always a need to be better at putting the ball in the net.”
Suspensions mean that Dunfermline will be without the services of Chris Hamilton (pictured below) for the first two league games and Alloa Athletic will be missing skipper Andy Graham for this Saturday’s match.
“Chris is out this weekend so we are a body down, Graham Dorrans will not be fit for this weekend. Graham is looking good and he did a bit more this week. We have no niggles but we can’t afford any niggles given how light our squad is.
“We are light, we know that we need reinforcements. We know that we need to get players in the building. We are working hard and it is frustrating but we will keep working to get the right ones in.
“We are actively working in the background to bring players in like every other manager. It gets to the point if Kyle Benedictus or Rhys Breen get injured we have no real centre backs there who you can say go and play.
“We were delighted to get Max Little in because there was a worry concerning Deniz. He has been great, he had a dislocated finger and didn’t play the Kilmarnock game. He has come back in and shown bravery to go and do that. That was a worry and something that was keeping me up at night.
Above: James McPake welcomed Max Little to East End Park
“We have got Max in now to fight Deniz for the number one jersey so that is good. Next we move on to that centre back area and other areas on the pitch where we know we are light.”
Whether it is out of contract players or loan players James maintains that it has got to be players who can come in and progress Dunfermline as a club:-
“I don’t want to sign someone in a panic. We will never go down that route. Max is just in but I think the two signings who came in at the very start - Chris Hamilton and Kyle Benedictus- have improved the team. They have been excellent so far and that is the type of calibre of player that we are trying to bring in not just players to fill a bench. We are looking for players that can 1) play in the team or 2) fight with whoever is in that position to get in the team and then hold that place down in the team.
“We are working on it. I hear most managers saying that it is a tough window and I don’t know why it is. It is certainly the strangest one that I have had and this is maybe my seventh window. Hopefully things start turning over a bit quicker than they have been.”
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