Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Friday, 28th Feb 2014

27/02/14: Jim Jefferies reveals that he had an interest in signing Stranraer player



Jim Jefferies is looking forward to Saturday's match against Stranraer, the team immediately below Dunfermline in League One. Coming as the fourth game in a series that he had deemed extremely important in the push to secure a play off place as soon as possible, he is sure that this will be the toughest challenge of them all:-

"In two difficult away games they have been fantastic and played really well. If we can pull it off on Saturday it will be against a decent side, they work hard and have had some good results. Even Premier League clubs have found it hard to get the better of them.

"It would have been a much more difficult game with more pressure on us had we only taken five points from the last nine. If we win on Saturday we have virtually nailed second. Stranraer have a couple of games in hand on us but they have got to win those games because we have the points in the bag. We can make the gap seventeen points but they will be wary and see this as their last chance.

"Stranraer will definitely qualify for the play offs. I have a lot of respect for Stranraer, they have done well and played well. Steve Aitken has done a great job there and has some experienced players. The good thing from our point of view that we have played them three times and played really well against them. Hopefully we will do it again on Saturday."

Steven Bell  Steven Bell Steven Bell Steven Bell

Former Pars player Steven Bell has now made 18 appearances for Stranraer since making his comeback in October, he scored against Dunfermline in the last meeting at East End Park and Jim Jefferies revealed that he had been interested in bringing Belly back to Dunfermline during the recent transfer window:-

"Steven Bell has come back after injury and played a major part for them. They were lucky to keep him until the end of the season. He was here when I arrived but didn't really benefit from him because of the injury he had. You couldn't blame the club because he hadn't played for a while and they were cutting their costs. They just couldn't risk it but he went away, got himself fit - he had been at Stenhousemuir and Dumbarton to try it.

"He is a decent player and has helped Stranraer to get where they are. I hoped to get him in the January transfer window but I can understand that he wanted to go where he was playing regular and get games under his belt to test his injury. It wasn't him choosing Stranraer or Dunfermline, he had the right reasons for staying there and we are pretty strong in midfield and there would have been no guarantee that he would start."

Steven Bell & Josh Falkingham

The Manager stressed that the players who have dropped out of his starting eleven like Shaun Byrne and Alex Whittle to accommodate transfer window signings Ross Forbes and Danny Grainger, will benefit from the rest:-

"We have added quality to the squad and everybody recognises now that gives everybody a lift and more importantly, we look less vulnerable. Even though we were working hard and playing well, a little bit of naivety creeps in and we were losing goals. We didn't have them for the cup tie at Ibrox and you saw the difference at East Fife, Forfar, Ayr United and Arbroath. We looked solid and we have had two clean sheets back to back. We have scored six goals in the last two games and got three points as well.

"Stephen Husband got the hunger back after being out for a few weeks, he has done well. Andy Geggan and Josh Falkingham are starting to play better because the contract stuff is all off their minds. Forbes is quality and I think Shankland and Faissal have been tremendous.

"They have got a lift at the right time. This is the business end of the season, I have said that to the players. This where that wee bit of freshness is going to tell.

"The quicker that we can get that second place tied up and qualified (for play offs) the better. I am not saying that I am going to leave boys out until the play offs because they have got to keep their match fitness as well. But there will be an odd game here or there where we can give two a break and then next another two. When it comes to the last game of the league season which is against Rangers at home, if we have a big game on the Wednesday then you will find that there will be a lot of changes."

For the match against Stranraer there is not likely to be many changes. Jordan Moore will be out for a couple of games after a minor operation. Ryan Wallace trained but is touch and go for Saturday since the inflammation that he is suffering from clears up with rest. With an eye on the big games at the end of the season the Manager is not inclined to risk him in any way. Allan Smith has still not fully recovered from tonsillitis and Saturday is probably a bit quick.

The Manager confirmed that he would have talks next week with Callum Morris to see if his contract could be extended before it runs out at the end of this season.



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