Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Friday, 24th Jan 2014

JJ gives little away about his signing target

We're trying to hedge our bets really

When Jim Jefferies spoke to the media on Thursday lunchtime, like the fans, they were desperately keen to discover just who the central defender was that was attracting his interest. The Pars boss has prioritised signing a centre half but would not give a name, he teased with snippets of information:-

"He's played in the Premier League, he's played in the First Division a lot and that's where he's coming from - the Championship anyway. But he's not old. Both parties are agreed and it gives us cover in an area from there."

Had Callum Morris not been fit to start the game against Airdrieonians last Saturday, JJ would only have had one central defender in Lewis Martin at his disposal since Kerr Young was suspended. The 21 year old Dundee United defender Ross Smith has been training with the Pars but the description ruled him out. The Manager continued:-

"I tried to explain to Ross that I had this on the go before he came here. I said to him: 'It's entirely up to you, you can come and have another week with us because I don't know if this deal would go through or not'.

"If it doesn't and I don't get that wee bit experience that we need then Ross has done enough to say that there might be an interest there. We're trying to hedge our bets really, Ross is aware of the situation and if this other boy comes then even though he's young, he's still three or four years older than Ross and has played more games at a higher level than Ross has, so that's the one we'd try to target.


"I've done a bit of homework on the boy and everybody that has been involved with him has said he is a good type so he might do us well. It's not easy to get players at this stage, for every club, and we've not got loads of resources to throw at it and get someone even more experienced. When they are like that and are a bit older there's more money attached to it. We've only got what we've got, and it would be a good bit of business for us."

Dunfermline have used all of the loan deals that they are allowed in a season but Jordan Moore can stay to the end if his current loan deal is extended in good time:-

"He's not been playing but he's always been involved. He likes it here and he's made a lot of impact coming off the bench at times so I think they realise that once I've spoken to Jordan and he wants to remain here then they'll need to do that before his contract ends, which I think is on the 26th.

"The rules are as long as you can sign him before the end date it just continues as one loan - we've extended it in other words. So that's something we can sort out today or tomorrow."


Jim Jefferies is hoping that any incoming calls are about players coming in, he certainly doesn't want to lose any of his squad:-

"I've just been keeping my fingers crossed that between now and next week they've all had their phones cut off and they've not paid their bills. Mine is certainly off the hook anyway!"

After being out for a month, Callum Morris is out again after hobbling off after 72 minutes of his return match. The Manager explained that the injury was no recurrence of Callum's previous one:-

"Callum's obviously out but it's good news because he got scanned and it's not as bad as we thought. Our fear was that he could be out for six or seven weeks when he came off on Saturday, but it's a totally different injury. It was just bad luck again because he went over the ball and caught his hamstring.

"Maybe that was a result of him having to be thrown back in because of our situation with Kerr Young being suspended and not really having another recognised centre back that we could have maybe have put in there. Hence the reason I've tried to strengthen the position in case that happens again.

"The upshot was that he didn't have as bad a tear as we thought so he'll probably miss this week and next week, but he might just make the Rangers game.

"Thommo will be back in training tomorrow (Friday) and Kenny had him in as a precaution for another day, but I expect him to be in the squad. Faissal is still suspended but Kerr is available. If we get something done today with the new boy, I don't know if he'll start but I'd certainly like to feature him."

Chris Kane has left the club nineteen months after joining from Hearts. The gaffer explained the circumstances:-

"We've had this discussion two or three times with Chris. Every chance he gets he comes over to train with us but he's on this course at university. He's quite a bright lad and he knows football is not going to make him what he wants in life.

"He's turned this course down three times and this was the last opportunity to do it, and seemingly it's a top course, so he went for it. So he reverted to part-time and it was hard for him because he was keeping his fitness with the U20s and coming over to train when he could but he was coming up against full-time players.

"He's been on the bench and came on at Stenhousemuir. He is a naturally fit boy but he misses playing on a Saturday and we looked at the situation, so we let him go to Cowdenbeath.

"His contract is up at the end of the season anyway so we just let him go and let him play part-time. We'll look at the situation at the end of the season again because we wouldn't rule out him coming back here. We just have to monitor how things go for him."

Robert Thomson rounds Graeme Smith

Striker Robert Thomson has also left the club:-

"Like a lot of them Robert signed a short-term contract and he's been approached by a couple of clubs. I said to him that it looked like he was going to end up a squad player here but at that age you can understand him wanting to play. He came in, he's a hard-working lad and he got the injury but he's starting to recover from injury and is back on the training pitch.

"I think he's got a couple of options, one of them being our opponents on Saturday, so we allowed him to go up there and let them have a look at him and I don't know if they are going to take him or not.

"He wouldn't be available for Saturday injury-wise anyway and his contract doesn't finish until the 26th, which is Sunday, so we'll see. I think he's got one or two options but we're not going to renew his contract because the boy wants to play regularly."

Ironically it was 20 year old Robert Thomson who scored the Pars goal in the last away game to Ray McKinnon's Brechin City. It ended up all square at 1-1 and the Manager recalled that September day:-

"I thought we played really well up there the last time and I think Ray had said that. He said we had good young side and they dominated the game that day.

"I think they had a lot of injuries that time and I think they've got a lot of injured players back and that's why they had a good result last week. But at that time they had two or three missing and at 1-0 I thought we had chances to kill them off but they got a late equaliser.

Brechin snatch an equaliser

"We were disappointed because we felt we dropped two points that day because we were so far in front up until maybe the last 10-15 minutes. It's human nature because when you've not got a second goal and the time runs out you tend to sit back and invite the opposition to come at you.

"They've got nothing to lose and we were a wee bit sloppy at the corner we gave away and we got done there, but it was a game we should have won.

"Having said that, I thought they played really well against us at East End Park. We know we're in for a hard game but it doesn't faze us going away from home. We've had some terrific results and performances away from home because teams don't often sit in like they do at East End Park.

"When they come to East End Park, everybody seems to raise their game like Airdrie did last week. It was probably Airdrie's best performance of the season and it was probably our worst.

"If that happens then the result is always in danger and that happened to us last week. But we just have to bounce back.

"It's funny because we go up to Forfar and get beaten 4-0 but if you watch the video we totally dominated the game and played well. I didn't think we did that last week and we didn't play well.

"It's about how you bounce back and being away from home teams tend to come out a wee bit more. It suits us because we're a very good team for passing and breaking quickly and we cause teams a lot of problems.

"Hopefully that will be the case on Saturday, although it is a tighter pitch and there's not always a lot of room. But I'm sure we'll be making up for last week and trying to get a result."

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