Manager on ThursdayFriday, 16th Aug 2013
15/08/13: JJ -"It's great to come back home and on a big pitch, but we've got to recognise that the teams coming will still get a lift playing at Dunfermline ...
Jim Jefferies is looking forward to the Pars first competitive home game of the season when Arbroath are the visitors on Saturday. He feels that the team has done really well travelling away from home and picking up three wins:-
"I felt we played really well at Cowdenbeath and the other two games have been a bit of an eye opener to what we're going to face this season. East Stirling on that pitch on a windy day wasn't a game at all, but thankfully the most important thing in that type of game is you get through and we did that comfortably I felt.
"Against East Fife we had chances to kill them off, and I'm happy with everything the players did in terms of effort, commitment, the result and application, but the quality of our play could have been better. Maybe that's down to one team trying to get in about us and then trying to launch it forward - you couldn't get any sort of rhythm going with a game of football.
"That was effective for them and in the second half with a light breeze they banged it forward to the big lad up front. They were trying to knock it down and in the first half we dealt with it OK but they were always going to have a spell in the second half. As the game goes on at 1-0 and you've not killed them off you tend to come under a wee bit of pressure to hold on to what you've got.
"It's great to come back home and on a big pitch, but we've got to recognise that the teams coming will still get a lift playing at Dunfermline and the atmosphere will be better than what they are used to, so they'll raise their game and we've got to be prepared for that. We've got to play in the way I know we can play and make sure that East End Park becomes a bit of a fortress.
"When Rangers come calling of course, we'll raise our game. But I've said to the players that they have got to deal with not so much expectation but playing for the name of Dunfermline Athletic FC because you are going to be a target this year. You have to expect that and handle that, because everybody will want to beat you just because it is Dunfermline.
"I think we had a wee bit of that last season, although there are clubs like Falkirk, Hamilton and Partick who are big clubs as well, but maybe it was the fact that Dunfermline had just come down from the SPL. But Dunfermline are not used to going into League One so we'll expect teams to raise their game.
"How they play against other teams will be totally different because it's a big one for them. You might find teams will set up a lot differently against other teams and they will maybe come here and pack in and try to frustrate us and keep in the game. It's something you just have to handle, you've got to keep the ball moving and get teams stretched.
"If we are sloppy and start giving the ball away, we'll start playing into their hands. We've just got to show composure and a bit of patience."
Jim Jefferies maroon days are nearly all with Hearts but Arbroath has figured in his diary before:-
"I've played up there a couple of times in my playing days, and when I was manager at Berwick Rangers I came across them a couple of times. Ex-Dundee United and Partick Thistle player Ian Gibson was in charge then when Billy Brown and I were in charge at Berwick.
"In fact, Arbroath was probably my last game before I got the Falkirk job. It was the last game of the season and in the summer I went to join Falkirk full-time, so that was the last time I came across them as a manager. Let's hope it is the same result because it was 5-1 that day to Berwick.
"Ian is a good friend of mine and we know each other well, so I didn't want that to happen to him. Paul's a good lad as well. As long as we get the three points on Saturday that's the main thing, and if we can score a couple of goals as well into the bargain that's all the better. We don't set any targets, we just want to go and win the game. If we can do it comfortably that would be great, and we are well capable of doing that, but I expect Arbroath to raise their game and try a little harder because of the nature of the game."
The Manager gave an update on his squad availability:-
"Luke Johnston has not been in this week because of illness - he's had a bit of a bug and we thought he was getting better but he's still not feeling right, so I doubt he'll make the squad. Stephen Husband is suspended, Allan Smith is back in training but he needs to get a couple of games under his belt."
The only other player unavailable to JJ is Stephen Husband who was sent off in the U20s match against St Mirren. Hubby scored in Tuesday night's 5-4 defeat from Rangers at the Bet Butler Stadium in Dumbarton. He continued:-
"The three games we've played Hubby has been banned from them all and he's got one more to go. I think the wording of the rule is recognised fixtures, and he's recognised as a first team player. Playing in the U20s allows him to keep his match fitness."
"Robert Thomson is here and has been training with us. He's played a couple of games so he's come with a view to let us have a look at him and we have still to make a decision on that. He's done well so far."
Former Celtic youth Liam Gormley has been training with Dunfermline but Jim Jefferies ruled out any possible interest in him. Since they probably already have similar players to him, there's no point in him coming to Dunfermline just to be in the squad. Jefferies expanded:-
"He wants to play regularly and I can't guarantee him that. I believe Stirling are wanting to have a look at him, so I spoke to him on the phone and he thanked us for helping him keep his fitness up. Liam wants to go and play and he's better going somewhere he's going to get a game every week. He's a decent wee player but we've got too many like him."