Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 15th Jun 2017

15/06/17: AJ - "There is still a lot of work to be done because we are still short in numbers."

Manager Allan Johnston was pleased to see his squad return to training on Thursday and couple that with announcing the signing of two new players. Aaron Splaine and Declan McManus joined on one year deals. Aaron is a player he knows very well having taken him from Queen of the South to Kilmarnock.

"He was very young at that time and when I left he managed to get into the first team. He played a few games but when the new manager arrived he had different plans. Last year was maybe a disappointing year for him after he left Kilmarnock. He went on trial at a couple of big clubs and he was hoping for a move down south but picked up an injury."

The manager feels that the 20 year old has a lot of ability and has a point to prove. He is hopeful that Dunfermline will provide a platform for him to go and do that.

"We are delighted to get him on board, he is a young lad who is desperate to get his career back on track. That`s his priority and he is here to do well. These are the kind of players that you want to bring in. I know the kind of qualities that he brings, he can play in the middle of the park, he can play wide, he is a good passer of the ball, he is aggressive and I think he will do well for us."

Aaron has not played a lot of games recently and the manager stressed that his signing will need to catch up on over the next five or six weeks. AJ added that he still had a few more players to bring in.

"There is a lot of space to bring players in and we want to try and strengthen throughout the whole team but especially middle to front. That is going to be our priority over the next few weeks. Hopefully we can do that."

The second signing is Declan McManus who most Dunfermline Athletic fans will recall as a perpetual scorer for Morton against the Pars. AJ continued:-

"He is young and you actually forget how young he is because of the number of games that he has played. He is really fast and has good movement. Last season he was disappointed with his season and sometimes if you are in a team that is struggling, especially if you are a striker, it is difficult.

"We have seen enough of him to know that he is a good player and he will bring a lot of quality to our team. He fits in to the way we want to play, he has a great work ethic and he can score goes. He is a good age and can do really well."

Other possibly bigger clubs in the Championship were also interested in signing the striker who scored nine goals last season as he made 41 appearances for Raith. The manager was pleased that the 22 year old elected for Dunfermline.

"He wants to come here and be successful. He thinks that we are going to be up there challenging and that`s where we want to be.

"He knows the way to goal and even when he was at Aberdeen as a youngster, he scored a lot of goals. That is something that we are looking for because we lacked that last year - we never scored enough goals - and I think that he can definitely add that to the team."

Competition for starting places is what Allan Johnston is seeking and that is to make sure that the best is produced out of every player in the squad.

"Bringing in that kind of quality, with a desire to do well makes me believe he is another good signing."

Every Pars fan has been watching for signings but Allan always maintains that getting the right player takes time.

"One minute you think you are close to signing people but it is one step forward two steps back. Then next minute it happens. There is still a lot of work to be done because we are still short in numbers. The squad we have got, with some of the young players that we have coming through, if we can add a bit of quality to it over the coming weeks then we are going in the right direction."

The manager claimed his phone never stops ringing with recommendations and said that we can expect to see a number of trialists coming to Dunfermline in the coming weeks.

"We are all looking forward to pre season training. It is a short week this week obviously coming in Thursday and Friday and then we have given them the weekend off before coming back to the real stuff on Monday when it starts to get really tough.

"They are a good bunch of boys and we have that wee bit of freshness having had the break but is always nice to get back playing football again.

"The boys have come back in good condition and we just have to make sure that come the first game that they are ready, prepared to play and we have to make sure that we start the season well."

There are only plans for three pre season friendlies: a closed doors match against Patrick Thistle, a friendly at home to Hibs and then away to Raith Rovers.



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