Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 25th May 2023

25/05/23: James McPake predicts some of his younger players best years might be in their next contract

Manager James McPake says that he is trying to build a core group of players to shape a team that can bring further success to the club. He also talked about the show of faith from the club in Kane Ritchie-Hosler, and indeed with Kane in the club in terms of contract length, but feels that all that follows the commitment that came with new contracts for the management team.

"The fact that we had signed new deals as well, and then you start seeing Wighton`s got two years, Edwards signing an extension, Matty Todd, he`s still got two or three to go, and Kane`s an asset to any football club.

"Of course, we will need to add to it. There`ll be more comings than goings over the course of the window and pre-season. Kane`s a player that we wanted from the start and he`s a player that`s deserved the three years. He`s deserved that contract and I don`t think it`s too big a risk because he`s not one that`ll sit on it and think `oh, I`ve got three years`.

"He`ll want to come in and, from the first day back, start back and be flying and keep going because he enjoyed that. When you get a taste of that success - and I don`t just mean winning a league - and you get a taste of playing week in, week out, and being relied on week in, week out, there`s nothing better as a player.

"We want to build something here. If you look over probably the last two months, in terms of Josh Edwards, Matty Todd, Kane now - these are all players that their best years might be on their next contract, never mind this one, they`re that young.

"You just look at the progression of them as well, and we hope that`s the case with Kane. There’s injury, there`s loss of form, there`s the emotional strains or whatever in football, so you can`t predict just how much he will progress going into next season again.

“We`ve got him for the three years and we`ll just keep working to make him a better player, because that`s going to be the easy bit, in my opinion, if he stays clear of injury, if he just keeps his head down and works because, at the minute, he`s willing just to do better all the time. That`s the type of characters you want."

It sounds as though character is going to be required for the players to see them through pre-season training and after Aaron Comrie predicting last week that it will be tougher than last season’s, the gaffer confirmed that will be the case:-

"Yeah it will be, but we`ve got a bit longer this year as well, just with the break we`ve been able to give them. We`ll start their programmes from Monday. It`s not going to be easy, but we make no apology for that.

“We now know them all, we know how much we can push them as well, so it`s part of being a footballer. It`s the horrible part of being a footballer if I`m honest, and it`s the only bit I don`t get jealous about when I`m standing. I`d love to be involved in every training session, I`d love to play in the big games, all the games, whether it`s Buckie out there, or Falkirk out there, it wouldn`t bother me. I`d love to get back on that pitch but when it comes to pre-season, I`m quite happy not being involved."

It will be Dave Mackay’s first pre season at Dunfermline but James pointed out just who would be making it more difficult:-

"Both of us! We know how hard we can push these players. We`ve got a very good medical and sports science department as well, so all of that`s looked at.

"There’s a time, in certain games, when you need it. When you`re 2-0 down away to Falkirk, it just becomes a case of let’s just work hard and get back into the game. You look back to those horrible days in June and July where they`re running round tracks, or they`re doing their repeated sprint stuff. It`s going to be tough, and enjoyable for us, not for them!"

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