Dunfermline Athletic

Supporters can be our twelfth man

Friday, 29th Jul 2022

29/07/22: JMc - “If you can show them real heart and real desire then this crowd will get behind us and they will help us this season.”

Dunfermline Athletic is reporting season ticket sales up on this time last season and James McPake is looking forward to the support of the 2500 Pars fans who have so far purchased their briefs for the coming season. He has experienced the passion that can come from the stands at East End Park both as a player and an opposition manager and he is looking forward to seeing the ground supporting his team:-

“I love it when there are big crowds, loads of fans getting behind the team and driving the players on. I have said before that this was a really tough place to come and play. I always found that.”

The last game James played here was a League Cup tie in August 2015 before the current format and Dunfermline won 3-1 on the night. He recalled:-

“Dunfermline were in League One at the time and they put us out of the cup. Dundee were Premier League at the time, we got a right doing that night and I remember the effect of the fans. I also played here for Livingston and for Coventry City in a pre season friendly when I dislocated my shoulder.

Above:James McPake playing for Dundee at East End Park

“I cannot wait for the league to start, that is when the season tickets come into play and hopefully there is a big crowd. The excitement builds for the league campaign starting and we need to work as hard as we can to show the fans that we are out there to make them proud of their team.

“If you do that, it is all that fans ask. Go out work harder than the opposition, give everything that you have got. Sometimes the ball will not roll for you the right way and things don’t come off but if you can show them real heart and real desire then this crowd will get behind us and they will help us this season.”

The opposing teams will react to the crowd as well but James claimed that he prefers to be in that sort of situation:-

“Of course there is pressure to win games and we are going to face teams that are going to be more defensive particularly coming here. That comes with the territory of playing for this football club.

“Other teams in this league will probably have the situation where teams are quite happy to come and frustrate you. We work on that, we put sessions on, we have played some lower league teams in friendlies and in the Premier Sports cup. It is just about keeping believing in what we do, not getting frustrated at certain points in the game.

“We are trying to be on the front foot, trying to play forward and trying to create chances. At the minute it is working and now can we top it off by being more clinical and ruthless.

“It is that old saying ‘goals change games’ and if that second goal had gone in on Saturday I’m confident enough to say that there would have been no way back for Alloa because we were that much in control of the game at that stage. When you are only one goal up you are vulnerable, so when we are on top in a game we need to make sure that we are clinical enough to put teams to bed or it can be a long afternoon.

“We will get games where we are not great and we will need to grind it out, that is par for the course over the season. Here we need to make it really tough for other teams to come and that is what we are planning to do.”

The visitors for the first fixture in League One is a repeat of last Saturday’s Premier Sports Cup group match and the manager and his players will want to make good after Alloa Athletic put paid to their qualification for the knock out stages. James said that you cannot fool players in your team talk or in the press after a game:-

“If I had come out and said that I was delighted with that performance they would have gone home thinking ‘he’s away with it’. I didn’t have too much to say to them after the game, you wait until the day after because I didn’t want to fall out with anybody.

“You can’t fool supporters even more. They have seen enough in the Premier Sports games and the friendlies to see what we are trying to do. They know that it is early days and I’m not asking them to be patient because we are a football club that needs to win games and be on the front foot home or away.

“There is an expectancy there from the fans, which I love. They are backing us but they are right when things are not going great because they saw enough in that game to be walking away to the pub or away home happy on Saturday.”

Facing the same back to back opposition is not new to the manager, he has experienced that three times at Dundee against Ayr United, Kilmarnock in the play off final and the play off games against Raith Rovers. He observed:-

“The record is okay on that but I don’t think it makes any difference. It is probably easier for both clubs because you are getting a really good view of them. They had a really good view of us, but both teams have suspensions coming up and there might be injuries in the squads, so it is a completely different game. I just hope that we make the same amount of chances and if we do that, we need to be more ruthless.”

James McPake also spoke to Jordan Burt for PARStv

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