Manager on ThursdayThursday, 15th Sep 2022
15/09/22: JM - “It is far too early to be looking at the league table. I mean that, take a look at it in March, April time.”
Speaking at lunchtime Dunfermline manager James McPake claimed that he was approaching the derby match against Falkirk in no different a way than he would have any other in League One but added:-
“Obviously we are aware of what it means to supporters, both football clubs and both sets of fans. It is three points and a game in a league campaign that is going to be very tight come the end of it. We are looking forward to the game, we want to play in front of big crowds and we are expecting a decent crowd on Saturday, that will help both teams.”
The postponement of all fixtures last weekend as a sign of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, caused disruption but nothing that football experiences from time to time:-
“We are used to that, not in those circumstances but as a player I was used to that and then as a manager I have had games called off on the day of games and games called off before it, so it wasn’t an issue.”
With Falkirk as visitors it also means the return of former Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn. James commented:-
“John is a good manager, he is experienced and I have come up against him a lot when he was at Raith. He has a style of football that likes to build the play and he likes to play out from the back. We have seen them against Dundee, against Kelty and against Queen of the South because we were going to be playing Queen of the South. They have been at every game of ours. There will be no surprises in either camp.
“It will be a good game in front of a good crowd, he (John McGlynn) sets high standards and asks a lot from his players. I don’t think that they will change too much from that.”
The resumption of this ‘Kincardine Bridge’ derby is guaranteed to create a warm atmosphere inside the KDM Group East End Park and will generate its own incentive for the players of both teams.
“There would have been a good crowd because it’s against Falkirk but we are expecting a better one because of the run. That is credit to the players and as a player you want to play in front of big crowds, in big atmospheres and in big games.
“This is perceived as a big game because it is against a rival and they have not come to play us here for a few years. That is what players want, you want to be involved in games like that every week if possible, so there is an incentive for them to keep producing good performances. If we keep doing that the fans will keep coming back.”
It may be a lower league game but the supporters of Dunfermline Athletic and Falkirk will possibly boost an attendance on Saturday that will probably only be exceeded at Ibrox and Easter Road. James continued:-
“There are a few of these (big games) in this league this year. You saw at Kelty, even though it is not the biggest of stadiums, we went up there with a big crowd and even at Dumfries I was surprised by how many that we took down there, given it is a long way. I cannot really remember going down there over the past couple of years, albeit there were Covid times, and having as big an away support as that.
“At our last home game against Airdrie there were over 4000. Credit to the football club in terms of the support but I think the players deserve a lot of that because they are the ones who go on to the pitch every week.
“When we first came in we always said that the only thing that we could guarantee is that they will give everything for this football club because if they don’t do that they will not play. To a man they have all done that so I have no complaints with that.
“What you get from that is a buy in from your crowd. Even against Airdrie when there was a real blow when we conceded that equaliser, they urged us on and on another day we could have got the winner. They urged us on that much that we finished really strong in that game. That was the first real setback, so I was looking to see what would happen and so it was great hear them still with us.
“We need to keep doing that. We have only played six games, ten if you include the Premier Sports Cup. That is not enough to turnaround everything that’s gone on. The more we do it the more that they will come with us.”
Every Pars fan is hoping for a victory and three points. Points that could open a useful gap between the clubs but James cautioned over making too much of the current league position:-
“We could extend the difference but they could also make it tighter. It is a game, we have to play them four times, we have got Airdrieonians three times, we have got Peterhead four times so it is far too early to be looking at the league table. I mean that, take a look at it in March, April time.”
Commenting on players available, the gaffer said:-
“Craig Wighton has started to join in a bit again and he is looking good. Kevin (O’Hara) has been training albeit with a knock that we are managing. Everybody else is good, no issues apart from Paul Allan.”
Watch James McPake’s interview with Jordan Burt on PARStv
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