Manager ahead of StranraerFriday, 10th Apr 2015
Stranraer have been formidable opponents this season and John Potter is expecting no different against the current League One league leaders on Saturday.
"They are fighting to win the league but we have our own agenda; we are still trying to get in the play offs. We have to keep hoping and I have said to the players that they are also playing for their futures. We don't need to worry about Stranraer, we have got to do our own thing. I will demand that from the players and if we do it then hopefully we can win the game."
Stranraer overran Dunfermline when the teams met at the end of February and the Pars boss talked through previous encounters this season:-
"We were in the game at one each before Gregor Buchanan got sent off. After that they were by far the better team, I would accept that. The other games against them have been pretty close. I thought that we probably could have won the first game here but we ended up getting beat to a goal from a setpiece."
Potts gives credit to Stranraer who he recognises are top of the league on merit. Steven Aitken's team have defeated the Pars five times in the eleven fixtures last season and this season.
"We know how Stranraer will play. They are good at it, they are effective and a strong unit but we can more than match them. If we play our own game and do things properly like we did for the first half last week when I thought we were strong. If we can be on the front foot then I think we can cause them problems as well."
Reflecting on last Saturday's game at Peterhead, John Potter felt that his team looked good in the first half and caused their opponents problems. "I would have liked to have caused them more problems because we got into good areas."
In the second half Peterhead made changes but John stressed that there was no way did he want to sit in on a 1-0 scoreline:-
"I have been there as a player and I wouldn't do it as a manager. We needed to win the game and try and score the second but we became nervous as a team and tracked back. As defenders you sometimes think it is easier to go backwards to defend. It is not, you have got to be brave and push forward; we didn't do that.
"It wasn't intentional, I was trying to squeeze them up the pitch and defend higher up the park. I think we are better that way and even when it went to one each, we had to win games so we didn't want to sit back. At times they did peg us back but we had a couple of opportunities as well with Andy Geggan's header and we had a three v two when Ross Millen broke forward.
"So yes they pegged us back but it wasn't intentional. We were going forward to try and score more goals, we wanted to win the game, why would I want to waste time? Draws don't help us; it will be the same again on Saturday. If it is a draw towards the end of the game, we will be pushing for a win because a draw gets us nowhere."
Draws have had a severe effect on the Pars season. While they have lost eleven, the same as title contenders Morton, Dunfermline have drawn nine in comparison to the Greenock club's three! Potts pointed out the significance:-
"Looking back, we could have won these, three draws against Peterhead, a couple against Stirling Albion. Especially the ones when we were on top of games and should have won but didn't take our chances but it is what it is. There is no point looking back at these draws, we need to look forward.
"The play offs are a long shot but we have to keep fighting until the death. I have been in football a long time and stranger things have happened. You have to keep fighting, keep playing and hope for the best."
Turning back to the match, Stranraer will be formidable opponents and the Pars gaffer stressed that playing as a team was important.
"There have been a few occasions this season I think we have gone out and really the eleven players have played well for a full 90 minutes. I don't think that has happened enough though, at times there have only been four, five or six players playing to their capabilities.
"To win tomorrow it will take eleven players playing well for the full 90 minutes because we are playing against the best team in the league at the moment. I am confident that we can do that and I am confident that we can go out and give a good account of ourselves.
"We need to show more fight and determination than we did in the second half against Morton in the last home game. We owe that to the fans but the players will be looking to themselves to show more determination and we will do that tomorrow."
Players who will not feature against Stranraer include Ryan Wallace, Jim Paterson and Ryan Goodfellow. Keeper Ryan Goodfellow will be out for the season but the prognosis suggests that it will be no longer than that. Potts expanded:-
"He is back running which is good for him because we feared the worst for him when he was first injured. It is nothing too long term."
Better news is that striker Michael Moffat has recovered from the injury that caused him to be substituted last Saturday at Balmoor:-
"He took a knock towards the end of the game and that's why he came off. He didn't train on Monday or Tuesday but trained yesterday and today and was fine. He will be back fit and ready to play."
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