Dunfermline Athletic

Managing players availability

Tuesday, 31st Aug 2021

31/08/21: PG - “Any manager will tell you now it’s not just the injuries you’re concerned about, you’re always waiting on a phone call after the testing.

The manager revealed today that he will be short of defenders for Dunfermline’s trip north on Saturday. Peter Grant told the media that none of the players missing last Saturday because of the Covid situation at the club will be back this weekend. On top of that Vytas Gašpuitis and midfielder Kai Kennedy will be absent on international duty with Lithuania and Scotland U21s.

The Pars boss claimed that he is no different from any of his counterparts in having to deal with the uncertainty created by the continued presence of the virus:-

“We’ve got a couple of other boys who have been feeling a bit under the weather, but thankfully everything has been clear on them at the moment. That’s a fluid thing and we’re testing every day at the moment, just to make sure. When some people have got colds we’re panicking a little bit just in case there’s anybody who has Covid.

“There’s also a couple of other guys who have picked up injuries because they were struggling physically, for different reasons, at the weekend. So, it’s just about managing their load this week to make sure we’ve got enough players for the weekend.”

It was noticeable that defenders Leon Jones, Ross Graham, Rhys Breen were missing for the Arbroath match and the manager confirmed that those three will still be out:-

“I can’t remember what day it was last week they starting feeling the symptoms. That broke everything up for us last week because the group was testing. Thankfully, we hadn’t been in contact with them but you have to be very, very careful. So it became a completely different week last week.

“We know a lot of clubs are having issues with it, so it’s not just ourselves but because the boys’ family members are out working now, it’s all coming from different areas.

“At first, we thought it was maybe ourselves, because the boys all seemed to get it at the same time but there was no connection. It was bizarre there was no connection with any of them.

“We were fortunate in that respect because that could have brought a lot more of us into it. It’s so important we’re managing that at this moment in time, but because you’re testing every day there’s the possibility of more.

“You can be feeling fantastically well and do a test and all of a sudden maybe three or four boys you have been with can’t do anything because they were in the gym together. We have five or six different groups now.

“Those boys won’t be available and we’re hoping the injuries pick up, and if they do then everything should be fine.

“Any manager will tell you now it’s not just the injuries you’re concerned about, you’re always waiting on a phone call after the testing. It used to be you’d have a phone call the night before training to say, ‘everybody’s available for training, there’s no injury problems’.

“Now, it’s completely different - ‘we’ve tested this morning, somebody’s not feeling well, somebody’s got a sore throat’. All of a sudden, that changes everything completely.”

For what might look like a defensive headache for the cup tie against Elgin, Peter feels that it is something they are capable of coping with:-

“Sometimes in adversity, that’s what you have to do, you have to dig in. Everything’s not always perfect. I’ve been in the game long enough, I know how football is and I know how quickly it changes.

“When you’re being successful, you’re always waiting on that moment and when things are going poorly you have to have that desire to put things right.

“I know I have the players who are more than capable of doing that. I’d love to have everybody available, but unfortunately the way we are working at this moment in time that’s not going to be the case. That is not an excuse, it is just fact and we have to deal with it.”

The Fife derby abandoned on Friday 20th August has been re-scheduled for Wednesday 29th September 2021 with a 7.45pm kick off at Stark’s Park. Match will be shown live on BBC Scotland.

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