Manager looks ahead to StranraerFriday, 10th Jan 2014
10/01/14: JJ - "We've played them twice and beaten them twice, so we'll try and make it a hat-trick on Saturday.
Turning his thoughts to Saturday's match against third placed Stranraer Jim Jefferies recalled just how tough the match down at Stair Park had been on 26th October:-
"Conditions were awful and I was thinking: 'this is going to be one tough match' because they had just won three games on the trot. But we played well that day. We gave them a goal of a start but got back at them and played well in the second half. It was difficult conditions but we worked our socks off."
Stranraer are unbeaten in their eleven games since losing to the Pars, including taking a point from Rangers at Ibrox. They trail Dunfermline by five points with a game in hand against Forfar Athletic:-
"That result tells you a lot about them. You are playing a team whose confidence should be high and they are well organised and know what each other is doing.
"It will be another tough, tough match but I think we've got the benefit of knowing we've played them twice and beaten them twice, so we'll try and make it a hat-trick on Saturday.
"It's a big game because they've got a game in hand, but if we can win we can put a bit more daylight between us and them and then see how they get on in their game in hand.
"Right now it's about getting as many wins under our belt as quickly as possible so we know where we're going to be at the end of the season but the last couple of games we've been having to do it with key players missing. Josh Falkingham should be back for Saturday, Whitts and Morris are still improving fast."
Callum Morris has been doing the warm-ups this week but not got involved heavily. Alex Whittle was injured in the first half against Stenhousemuir and his groin injury meant that Ross Drummond replaced him for the second half. The Pars boss was pleased that he has options available to him:-
"Ross Millen is back but he's not had a game yet, and Ross Drummond came in and did well. Sometimes you've got to keep the balance right and he'll probably be favourite given that Ross Millen has not played a game and is just back from injury."
"With Callum Morris being out injured, we might look at the defensive area because I think we're very well covered in the middle of the park. We've got options there and these boys have done terrific for us.
"If Thommo is considered as a midfield player then that's even more competition for places because we've got Shaun Byrne, Geggs, and a couple of younger boys like Lewis Spence who are knocking on the door."
JJ would like to introduce a bit of experience into his squad but if that is not available then he will be content to go with what he has got. Twenty one year old Dundee United's Ross Smith is a central defender that he is interested in:-
"We can't take any more on loan but there might be an opportunity, we don't know. If Dundee United were to let him go then we'll get first chance to see. I'd heard good things about Ross because Billy Brown had tipped me off about him when he was in charge of East Fife.
"They played Peterhead in the play-offs and said Ross was decent. I think he went to Stenhousemuir and got an injury there, then his loan period was up.
"We'll see how it goes and he's done well in training this week, but you've got to see him in a game situation. We'll do that on Tuesday and we'll have another trialist probably playing alongside him. We'll see how they do before we make any decision."
The Manager warned against reading too much into the potential arrival of 22 year old Norwegian striker Preben Erland. The player has just finished his season at Hundvag and the contact there asked if he could come over a few days:-
"He phoned last week to say he had picked up a rib injury so there was no point in him coming if he couldn't train. We'll keep an eye on him but it's not an area at the moment where we need to strengthen. We've just taken Shankland on loan and we're not going to take anybody for the sake of taking it.
"These players have done great to be where they are, so they are good enough to see it through. It'll only be if we get injuries or suspensions and we'll keep our fingers crossed we don't get too many."