Dunfermline Athletic

Manager’s attacking priority

Wednesday, 8th Jan 2020

07/01/20: SC - “With Anthony and Josh going away, although we have been lucky to get Ethan in, I think we need to bring in another attacking player.

It has been confirmed that on loan players Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald have returned to Hearts and Josh Coley has returned to Norwich City. There is no news on Greg Kiltie’s loan from Kilmarnock and Pars manager Stevie Crawford says he has no knowledge of any move for his striker Andy Ryan.

Stevie conceded that he can’t comment on something until it actually becomes official but had he been a betting man, he would have said that Harry and Anthony would go back to Hearts. The gaffer told the media:-

“I think it has been a frustrating one for Anthony, when he first came in he thought he was nearer to a fitness level than he was. We saw flashes towards the end of it.

“The two of them were great in terms of being about the place. Harry was sort of up and down, you forget that he is only eighteen year old. It can be unsettling for them in the spell where they have lost a manager at Hearts and they would be wondering where their futures lay as well.”

SC said that the club is in communication with Kilmarnock in regards to 22 year old Greg Kiltie’s loan:-

“The hard thing there is that Kilmarnock are just back from their winter break. There will be more communication between now and Saturday regarding Greg. Until we hear from Kilmarnock I can’t comment any further on that one.

“It has been confirmed that Josh Coley has also gone back to Norwich City. On record I would like to thank both Hearts and Norwich for giving us the opportunity to work with their players. In the end it didn’t work out for Josh but he was a lovely lad who went down with an injury problem. I wish him, Harry and Anthony all the best in their careers.”

With three players leaving and just one, Ethan Ross, having come in from Aberdeen on loan until the end of the season the Pars boss revealed that he was actively looking at possibilities to bring in.

“We know that we need to strengthen the squad. How soon that happens I am not sure. We have been fortunate enough to bring Ethan Ross in.

“We had spoken about Ethan in the summer and Aberdeen were keen to keep ahold of him at that point because they felt that it was right for his development. I think having had Bruce Anderson last year would probably have helped us on that one.

“He is an exciting prospect who can play anywhere - behind the striker in the ten position or in wide areas. The problem on Saturday was that we never got the ball to him enough to allow him to show what he is a capable of. I think that he will excite the Dunfermline fans.

“We will have a big part in helping his development and you hope years down the line that having relationships like that Dunfermline will benefit from it.

“He is a right good prospect. I know that he is going to go back an Aberdeen player but he will help us. We will be good for Ethan and Ethan will be good for us.”

The main priority for the Dunfermline boss is to bring in an attacking threat, obviously dependant on what happens with Greg Kiltie. He commented:-

“I have been looking at things and having discussions to see is it strengthening Dunfermline as a club? With Anthony and Josh going away, although we have been lucky to get Ethan in, I think we need to bring in another attacking player.

“Ethan brings a flexibility so if there is another type out there, similar. Kevin Nisbet is scoring goals for us. We lost Ryan Dow in the second half on Saturday with a viral thing, so it is important that we try to cover all bases.

“It is not as simple as saying that I am looking for a wide left or an out and out striker, that is not the case and I am not going to say that we need to bring in a certain type.”

What does seem likely is that the search will be focused on another loan player:-

“Sometimes the best chance of getting somebody in, given the way that we are trying to develop, we will be pursuing the loan market.”

Stevie also acknowledged how important it was to look after loan players in the right way. Any loan player that he has brought into the club is treated properly and as if they are a player coming to sign under contract:-

“At the end of the day, anybody that comes here I want them to be proud to have played for Dunfermline. They will go back and hopefully talk highly of us as a club.

“There are relationships that we are already building behind the scenes that I don’t want to bring attention to that is starting to get bigger. It is small at the moment but you only hope that there is growth in that.

“These are things that we are obviously not seeing on the park but it is relationships like that that will help Dunfermline in years to come.”

As far as reports of Andy Ryan’s possible departure, Stevie commented:-

“Andy Ryan trained with us on Tuesday morning, somebody mentioned that he had been linked with another club but as far as I’m aware Andy Ryan is a Dunfermline player and that is how it will stand at the moment.

“My door is always open and until somebody chaps the door and says that they don’t want to be at the club or I make a decision that I don’t think a player has a future at the club, then that is when we will deal with these matters.”

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