Dunfermline Athletic

Manager previews Queen of the South

Thursday, 23rd Feb 2023

23/02/23: “They should have gone away with more than a point. but we showed character again and got back into the game.

Speaking ahead of Dunfermline’s return to Palmerston Park this week, manager James McPake says that he would be happy to repeat the visit there in September - a shut out, a 2-0 win and an enjoyable trip back up the M74:-

"That would be ideal, unfortunately football doesn`t work like that. They`ve got a new manager. I like Marvin (Bartley) I know him well. He`s done his apprenticeship - I suppose people will say - being a coach, an assistant manager. He`s know out doing it in his own right now. We`ve played that since that game, I thought that day they were excellent here. They should have gone away with more than a point. but we showed character again and got back into the game. So it`s going to be a really tough game."

Asked what he expected from Paul McGowan now that the pair are re-unite at Dunfermline, the boss replied:-

"First and foremost, I`m big on personality, I`m big on character. Everything has to align. Paul`s one that ticks all the boxes for me because you can see he`s a fantastic character, he`s great in the dressing room, great on the training pitch. Every day he helps managers, he helps coaches, with his knowledge of the game and his enthusiasm to win every day in training - whether you`re doing a box or whether you`re doing 11 v 11. No matter what they`re doing he`s just got that mentality that he has to win. He has that inner desire to win.

"On top of all that he`s just a fantastic footballer. The intelligence, the game know-how and the calmness in any situation - whether it`s 60,000 at Celtic Park whatever age he was, making his debut in European competition or whether it`s reserve games I`ve played him in (at Dundee) or in training, he`s the exact same. That`s a number of things I love about him.

"Cup wins, top-six finishes, European football, promotions, relegations - the full shebang really. He`s seen it and at every club he played for every supporter will say the same - the one thing he does, and it`s the thing I`d said that we can control, they`ll walk off that having given everything for this football club.

“He is that in abundance, whether it`s training, whether it`s games. Everything he`s been though - regardless of if it`s been ups or downs in football - I don`t think I`ve ever heard anyone say that Paul McGowan lacked the attitude or wasn`t at it on a certain day. He`s unique in that sense, for the amount of games he played he plays every game like it`s the World Cup final."

This week’s schedule saw the players off on Thursday:-

"We`re back to what we were at the start of the season. The midweek games make it pretty difficult. The way we do prefer working is having the three-day build-up, at least. And having it as far away from the game as possible. You can work a lot harder on Wednesday than you can on a Thursday."

James confirmed that he has a full squad to select from:-

"Paul McGowan and Paul Allan are looking great. The week`s training has been really good actually. We`ve had a good compliment of everybody. Young Andrew Todd was part of the group today because of his performances - which is important for the younger ones. When they do see other players coming in, can they still stay at that level and push and learn from these experienced players? He`s done that. Training has been really good, really positive actually."

Commenting on the pre season friendly that was announced this week against 2 Bundesliga side, St Pauli, James felt that it is an exciting one:-

“One I`ve known about for a wee while and I had been hoping it got done. We all know of St Pauli and their fans and the connections with Thomas (Meggle) back in Germany with that club in particular.”

The Pars gaffer warned that his experience of pre season friendlies against German opposition is that they tend to be competitive. He captained Hibs away against Union Berlin in July 2012 and in 28C got a severe test as the home side scored twice in the second half to win 2-0.

“What can we expect? I played Union Berlin in a friendly when I was at Hibs, in Berlin. We turned up thinking it was a preseason friendly, it was mayhem - the place was full. They were at us. It wasn`t the Union Berlin as they are now, fighting at the top of the Bundesliga, they were in Bundesliga 2. It was competitive.

"It`s great, it`s different, for a start. There`s the connections with the ownership here. There are those connections there, but just look where they are in Bundesliga 2. They`re going to come with quality, they`re going to come with good players. It`s a bit too far ahead to be concerned with it, if i`m honest, but it`s one that I`m sure every Dunfermline fan and every Dunfermline players will be looking at it today and thinking `that`s one that excites us`."

So could that link-up see Dunfermline signing players from Germany? The manager commented:-

"The recruitment policy is that we look everywhere. If a player popped up, we`d treat it like any player from anywhere. We would do our due diligence on it and then have a look. We`ll wait and see." 

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