Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 26th Nov 2015

Allan Johnston expects a really competitive cup tie on Saturday against their League One rivals, Ayr United.

"It is against one of the teams from our division and probably not the perfect tie to get." He told the website:- "You want to go somewhere for a bit of freshness, play against different teams and go to different grounds. For the supporters, last last thing you want to be doing is playing the same teams especially when we play them in a couple of weeks time as well.

"Having said that it will still be a good game because the atmosphere will be good. It will be two teams who are obviously doing well just now, playing with a lot of confidence so it has the makings of a really good game."

Some might say that the league games between Ayr and Dunfermline are more important than cup ties but AJ claimed that his players just have to focus on one game at a time:-

"I don't think we can look forward to say if we win this game then we should win the next game. Football doesn't work like that. It will be a totally different game but obviously if you win it, it gives you a wee bit more confidence.

"Ayr are on a great run in the league. They have not done as well in cup competitions but in the league they have only lost their first game of the season. We know that it is going to be a tough game. The last game here was really competitive, there were a lot of tackles going in and what we probably need is a strong referee.

"The last game was physical. Callum (Fordyce) broke his leg and there were a lot of poor challenges. Hopefully we have a capable referee."

The Pars manager defeated Ayr United in the Scottish Cup when he was manager at Kilmarnock and is no stranger to Somerset Park since his brother used to play for Ayr.

"It is always a good atmosphere and I am sure that there will be a decent crowd. We are looking forward to the game and getting back on track. We were disappointed with only getting a draw last week but this will be a good pitch, a good place to go and play so it should be a good occasion.

"We will need to be at our very best but I think it will be a game that will suit us as well."

Two seasons ago Dunfermline and Ayr were drawn together at this stage in the Scottish Cup and then returned two weeks later on league business. In 2013 the tie went to a replay at East End Park that Dunfermline won. That meant that the club's met six times that season and might even have been eight had the sides met in the play offs. The manager smiled and added:-

"That is the problem with Scottish football. You play the same teams too many times. Look at last season, Dundee United and Celtic met eight times. It just gets ridiculous. We probably need bigger leagues just to freshen things up.

"It is better for the fans when they are going to see different teams, different grounds rather than wee vendettas against people when you are playing against them that many times. Playing in England I much preferred one game home and away per season. You really look forward to the away game against each club because you were only going to play them away from home once. It was brilliant, a real occasion and good for the fans as well. But that is the way Scottish football is just now.

"I think bigger leagues would be better. This club should be in the Premier League so that's what we should be aiming for. Hopefully we will be there one day. Sooner rather than later."

The gaffer confirmed that his squad had a couple of injured players whose availability will not be determined until Friday. "Some of them have not trained a lot this week so we will see if they can train tomorrow."

The mystery of Joe Cardle's bandaged hand against Albion Rovers turned out to be a badly burned hand but he is okay now.

The match last Saturday was disappointing in as much as the Pars could only score one goal.

"We had a lot of possession and got into a lot of good areas but we never had enough shots for my liking. That is what we have been doing really well over the last few months, hitting a lot of shots, a lot of quality balls coming in from crosses and maybe some of our crosses were a bit too deep. We know what we need to do, we need to get back to doing that because when we do that we are a real threat playing against anyone.

"Sometimes when teams sit in we have to make sure that we work the keeper. With the players we have got and the quality that we have got we should be scoring more goals than we have done in the last couple of games."

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