Jim Jefferies on ThursdayFriday, 21st Feb 2014
20/02/14: JJ - "If we can get the lion's share of the points from these four games we could be in a good position to go and clinch it early."
Jim Jefferies is looking forward to Saturday's match against Ayr United. He is faced with a dilemma given that there is another home league game against Arbroath only three days after, sandwiching an important Under 20s Youth Cup quarter final tie at Ibrox on Sunday. The busy week will conclude with a trip to Stranraer. The Manager reviewed the situation:-
"Last week I said we had four massive games ahead of us. Forfar is always a difficult place and we have not done well up there. Ayr United are up round about us competing, Arbroath are fighting for their lives - they went to Stranraer and got a result. Stranraer are possibly the closest challenger to us. If we can get the lion's share of the points from these four games we could be in a good position to go and clinch it early."
Jim feels that his side are capable of winning every game, they want to win every one of those four games and make it tough to be caught:-
"What we are aiming at may not happen but twelve points would be great. That would put us in a very good position going into games that will still not be easy. Airdrie have picked up a bit recently, Arbroath are fighting for their lives and teams do not want to be dragged down. All these clubs are raising their games to try and stay in this division and avoid being relegated to the lower tier. They are all going to be tough games in what we call the business end of the season."
Ayr United could close the gap between them and the Pars to eight with a win but JJ sees it rather differently with a big desire to create distance between Dunfermline in second and Ayr United in fourth. The Youth Cup tie is causing him to weigh up the risks of saving some of his younger players for the Youth Cup tie the following day. With such a young squad it would be possible to field several recognised first team players against Rangers at Ibrox. Ryan Williamson, Ross Millen, Lewis Martin, Lewis Spence, Allan Smith and Jordan Moore are all eligible and want to play in that cup tie.
"The under 20s have worked hard to get there and they already have some young players like Spence in that team so John Potter would like to go and have a chance. It is going to be a clever thing in trying to work out because it is not just about Saturday and Sunday, we have got Tuesday as well. Could I leave somebody out or maybe give them a half each on Sunday depending on how the game goes and then make sure that they are all fresh for Tuesday as well? I will need to think about that but it will have a bearing on how we pick the team. The priority first and foremost is Saturday and the first team"
A consequence of bringing in Danny Grainger with Alex Whittle still challenging for a place, is that 20 year old left back Ross Drummond has been taken by Colin Cameron on loan to Berwick Rangers until the end of the season.
"He is still available to play on Sunday. Colin had no problems with that saying that 'he is your player'. If Berwick had a midweek game then we wouldn't have played him but they don't have a midweek game. He will play on Saturday for Berwick Rangers at East Stirling then he will come and play on Sunday and play until he feels it. If he is tired after an hour we will take him off. Kids can play two games in two days it is not a problem for them."
Ross' loan deal started on Tuesday to allow 'the 93 day rule' that means he is available if Berwick get through to the play offs. The Manager is hoping Ross will feature every week for the League Two club.
On the injury front Andy Geggan took an ankle knock on Saturday which caused him to be substituted early in the second half at Forfar. He will train on Friday and is expected to be okay for the Ayr match. The remainder of the squad are all classified as fit and available for selection.
Now that Josh Falkingham has joined the growing list of players signed up at East End Park, the Manager will address those who have been waiting patiently for it being their turn. The Manager acknowledges that players want to be ambitious but his experience tells him that the simplest route to playing at a higher level is by taking Dunfermline there:-
"As a club the supporters, directors, management and players all want the same thing. I can understand where players come from but although it's not done yet, they look favourites to be one of the teams to qualify for the play off spots. Then its cup final stuff and if they take us up then they go into that division with a big club. One that we will be looking to get out of there and into the Premiership in a couple of years."