Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 26th Jan 2017

26/01/17: AJ - "important to get results to keep the confidence high"

Allan Johnston feels that his side have been unlucky in at least two of the four matches played against Dundee United this season and that the Pars are due a win. He said:-

"It is always going to be a tough game because when you look through the United squad, they have really good players, the same as ourselves. I don`t think that there has been much separating the teams in the last couple of games. We just need to get that edge.

"Hopefully we can do it at the weekend. They are on a bit of a sticky run just now so hopefully that will work in our favour as well."

United have won only one of their six away fixtures while Dunfermline have gone ten matches now unbeaten.

"Football is about confidence, that plays a major factor but I am sure that they will be well fired up because they know that it is important that they get back on track. They have to try and get a result.

"Guys like Tony Andreu can still bang in the goals. He scored two on Saturday and he has been a really good signing, they have a lot of other quality options."

The Pars objective from this Saturday`s match is to take the three points and extend the unbeaten run since losing to Dundee United in the Irn Bru Cup on 12th November. He felt that the form shown in knocking Alloa out of the William Hill Scottish Cup last weekend was encouraging and that Dunfermline should have won by more goals.

"They played well enough to score five or six. It is always difficult when you go to places like Alloa when you are favourites especially against a team that is used to winning week in week out.

"They play with confidence and you could see that they have good players who passed the ball well. I don`t think they threatened us much albeit they scored two goals."

Although the manager acknowledged that his side should have had a more resounding victory the most important factor was that they were in the draw for the next round and were the first team called by Sir Rod Stewart when he made the draw on Sunday. Number four, Dunfermline Athletic will play Hamilton Accies.

"It is a chance to get through to the next round but always difficult when you are paired with a Premier League club. The draw could have been easier, Hamilton are always a difficult team to play against but it is a game that we feel we can win.

"We have home advantage, I`m sure we will have a decent crowd supporting us but we are still going to have to play at our best to get a result.

"Our next three games are important to get results to keep the confidence high so that we go into that game on a high."

The draw kept potential Championship opponents apart and AJ welcomes the freshness that different opponents brings:-

"You get to know every player that you play against because you play against them that often. But we can go into the game with a lot of confidence from the way we have been playing. We have been scoring goals."

The cup tie at Alloa also allowed new signing, the returning Callum Morris to come into the team and impress on his second Dunfermline debut. He has staked his place for a match against his old club, for whom he made 38 appearances before leaving in June last year. The manager commented:-

"He handled that really well and it looked as though that he had been there for a lot longer. He has settled in very quickly and you can tell the attributes he is going to bring to the team."

After three first half penalty misses in the first league match against United at East End Park this season, the manager feels sure that having converted the last penalty awarded Kallum Higginbotham will be desperate to take the next one.

"If anyone gets a penalty, he will be first to it - if he is playing. It is about who is confident on the day. There is no point someone taking a penalty if they are not confident in hitting it."

On Tuesday the Development side put four past Ross County and the manager was delighted to watch the demonstration of strength in depth.

"Players like Hopkirk were playing, he has been out injured for a good part of this season but you could see what he brings to the team when he is fit. He scored three really good goals.

"Michael Paton also got a goal as well, and with a good performance but look at all the first team boys who played, they all played really well. It is encouraging for the manager to see that."

So having released Farid El Alagui, did the gaffer have plans to bring in others?

"We are still looking to see if there are any players of the kind that we are looking for. If somebody came up then we would have a look but we have good players who can step into the striker role. We have Gavin Reilly, Nicky Clark, David Hopkirk and young Calum Smith and Scott Lochhead."

While 18 year old Cammy Gill has gone out on loan to Arbroath, the manager admitted that there has been interest in taking other young Pars players out on loan.

"It is all about trying to get players some games at first team level. If it doesn`t happen it is no big deal."

Callum Fordyce had shin splints last week and having been given a week for them to settle down, he missed the game at Alloa but he is feeling better in training. Ryan Williamson picked up a knock in the Development League game and will miss the match against Dundee United.

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