Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 21st Nov 2019

21/11/19: SC - “ We will go down there with a mindset that we are going to try and progress to the next stage of this tournament.”

This Saturday Dunfermline Athletic are on Scottish Cup duty and its the first time that the club has been involved at this stage since they met Queens Park in 2017. Stevie Crawford admitted whoever they got drawn against at this stage, it was always going to be a tricky one:-

“The reality is you just don’t want to be one of the ones that everybody is talking about through making an early exit!”

Stevie Crawford has had the honour of playing in the Scottish Cup final for Dunfermline in 2004 and he recalls it as his best cup memory but some might say that the likelihood of the club making the final of this season’s cup might be out of touch for a Championship side. Nevertheless Stevie, knowing what it means to Pars fans, is hoping for a good Scottish Cup run and what he terms at snowball effect’.

“It’s the joy of the cup you never know what can happen, you can be struggling in the league but win one cup tie and progress into the next. It can help your league form, build momentum to that and have a snowball effect.

“But we need to take care of Saturday first and foremost before we start talking about making the later stages of the tournament. We will go down there with a mindset that we are going to try and progress to the next stage of this tournament.”

With last Saturday’s Championship match against Ayr United postponed due to the Somerset Park club having three players in the Scotland Under 21 side, Stevie and his assistant Jason Dair made the 250 mile round trip to watch the League One match where Stranraer took on Airdrieonians. The manager noted:-

“The pitch was lively, it is a decent sized pitch and Stranraer will be competitive. I know through watching their footage against Raith Rovers and the game that we took in, that they will be a threat at setplays.

“They are workmanlike and have boys who have played at a higher level as well. It is not going to be an easy venue to go to, it is going to be a tricky tie but one where we have to go down and make sure that we are one hundred percent focused on progressing in this tournament.”

Prior to the defeat at Alloa in the last match, the Pars had suffered just one loss in seven and while the team stayed injury free, it was basically picking itself. SC said not to expect a knee jerk reaction because of that Alloa game:-

“I have said before, we still created chances. The disappointing thing was collectively how we lost the two goals on the day. We could have made more of our chances but there will be a lot of thought and discussion going in to the eleven that we start on Saturday. I am not necessarily going to make drastic changes.

“I thought we equipped ourselves really well in the League Cup in the earlier part of the season. The boys have taken confidence from that, but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

“The fact that Kyle Turner has played down at Stranraer for a number of years, he will let the boys know that they are in for a cup tie. Being the home side Stranraer will fancy a crack at us. We have got to make sure that we are ready for that battle.”

The fact finding mission to watch Stranraer last Saturday allowed the Pars management team to monitor 23 year old Callum Smith who is on loan from Dunfermline to Airdrieonians. Stevie was pleased to watch what was a competitive fixture and knows it will be the same when the Pars go there on Saturday.

”Callum played out on the right hand side but he has been doing very well and if you look at where Airdrie are sitting in the league Callum has played a big part in that. I think he has started every league game for them this season and I know through talking to him that he is thoroughly enjoying it.

”It was a workman like performance, he probably got more involved in the first half than he did in the second but he certainly played his part in the victory.”

Callum’s loan deal to Airdrieonians is on the same basis as loans to Dunfermline, Stevie said:-

“Whether it is us putting players out or players coming in there are things that we can address in January. That is a wee bit away before we decide how that one goes.”

One on loan player who looks closer to arriving at East End Park is Hearts Anthony McDonald whose arrival has been delayed since signing on 31st August due to a back injury. The manager confirmed that even though Anthony had played 80 minutes of a Hearts reserve match against Hamilton reserves his readiness to move to Dunfermline would not be up to him.

”I know I sounding just like a stuck record on this but the decision is purely down to the communication between Hearts and our physios. We have to wait until Anthony is one hundred percent before he can come back here.

“From the outside looking in if he is getting minutes under his belt, is he going to have an adverse reaction? We have to respect Hearts, they are his parent club and they will make sure that they look after him properly.”

The Hearts loans manager Gary Naysmith has had a conversation with Stevie regarding the two young Hearts players.

“Originally when we did the deal for Anthony and Harry was between myself, Ross and Craig. Whether it will be in Gary’s hands or in somebody else’s at this moment in time the person I am dealing with is Gary Naysmith. Does somebody come in at Hearts and then take control? We will have to wait and see.”

On the injury front all going well Euan Murray hopes to see his specialist next week. Having recovered from a thigh injury, Tom Lang is back involved in training. He will get either a couple of weeks training or a reserve game to how he is before being considered for selection.

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