Jim McIntyre on FridayFriday, 21st Dec 2007
"I just feel that we need to be a bit fitter, I don't think as a squad we are fit enough. That's just my personal thoughts on it but you cannot increase things like that overnight, it has to be done over the longer term.
Jim McIntyre has described his team selection for the match against Queen of the South as down to the "bare bones". It has not been easy over the last couple of weeks but illness and injuries continue to stifle his choice with players like Stevie Crawford and Kevin Harper being asked to play out of position.
For Saturday Calum Woods, Jamie Harris and Bobby Ryan are back in the squad but illness will keep out Crawford and McManus. Scott Wilson is suspended and would have missed out anyway after tweaking his hamstring at Firhill last Saturday. Jim also includes himself in the squad to face Queen of the South but Kevin Harper is out after a training ground recurrence of his calf injury.
All this makes it hard for the Caretaker who still maintains that he has not applied for the vacant manager's position and that there has been no developments:-
"The Chairman knows my thoughts on it, he knows I am interested. I have not been interviewed all I have been told is to take care of things in the short term and we will see what develops from that."
Developments and his ability to impress through results are likely to be severely restricted by the lack of choice caused by injuries and illness. Jim admits that this does inhibit his ability to make changes to the team and its fortunes while acknowledging that the weakened side could jeopardise his managerial ambitions:-
"That is what managers are tested on. Obviously in an ideal world I would have a full squad to pick from, pick the team that I want to pick and work on that. But that is just part and parcel of football - injuries and illnesses at this time of year. You just have to go with what you have got. I am very confident in the group that we have got that we can go out and get a result tomorrow."
Macca has thoroughly enjoyed his caretaker role since taking over from Stephen Kenny 17 days ago:-
"The players have made it easy because their application and their attitude has been different class. They are a great bunch to work with; they have worked their socks off in training and we have kept the training as high tempo as we can.
"I just feel that we need to be a bit fitter, I don't think as a squad we are fit enough. That's just my personal thoughts on it but you cannot increase things like that overnight, it has to be done over the longer term. You cannot say 'right I am going to run the backsides' off them this week and that's them going to be fit. It doesn't work like that especially when you have so many players who have been out for a long time coming back. You have got to be careful.
"I well know because at Dunfermline it has happened to me a couple of times that you break down when you come back. Whether that's your age or who knows your body, you must be careful especially you do not have a lot to choose from."
The meeting with the Dumfries side pits the Pars Caretaker Manager against his Assistant Manager and subsequently Manager at Dundee United. Jim says that he has used many of Gordon Chisholm's training park methods:-
"It definitely works but the big man will be looking to put one over on an old player I imagine and likewise! We have steadied the confidence after losing a lot of goals in matches, we are at home and we should be winning our home games. That's exactly what we will be aiming to do. Its winning that breeds confidence."