Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 21st Jan 2016

21/01/16: AJ - "They are really strong and have collected the same points as us over the last nine games.

Allan Johnston is anticipating another tough fixture at the Balmoor Stadium on Saturday when his team travel to face Peterhead, the only team to have defeated Dunfermline away from home in the league this season. He told the website:-

"They have done well against us this year but we are looking to get a result. It is a long way to go so we are going up the night before and hopefully that should give us an advantage. Along with ourselves they are the form team of the division just now.

"They are scoring a lot of goals so we know the challenge ahead. We know we have to be playing at our very best and going to have to defend because they have big strong strikers. They are physical and we are going to have to match that. We have to remember to pass the ball and attack at pace the way we have been doing this year."

The overnight stop has been enabled due to funding from the Pars Supporters Trust

"It should help us because last time we felt that for boys coming through from the other side of Glasgow, Peterhead was a long way to go. It was just too much and you see that they were tired in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the game. We took a wee while to get going so hopefully this will help. It doesn't guarantee you anything though but certainly if you are trying to do things properly it is the right way to do it. It is a great gesture from the PST and hopefully we can repay them with a win."

AJ is well aware of the players who might prevent that much sought after win. He highlighted the threat that Rory McAllister and Shane Sutherland pose upfront for Peterhead.

"They have had opportunities to play at higher levels but Peterhead have built a really good squad there and brought in some decent loan signings too. They are really strong and have collected the same points as us over the last nine games. They have scored more goals than us in that run and not conceded many either. It is going to be a tough test.

"The two teams are going into it full of confidence. Even in the cup games we got a draw and end up getting beat in the second game against Ross County but there were a lot of positives to take from the game. We just wanted the game last week to be on to keep the momentum going but hopefully that will provide a bit of freshness for this weekend."

Marc McAusland trained today for the first time and the manager is delighted to have someone with his experience back in contention especially when the team is struggling for defenders.

"He has come back really quick possibly just over a week earlier than we expected. I am sure that Kenny (Murray) will be loving that. Usually an ankle problem like he had you are usually out for another week or two anyway. He has got him back to fitness really quickly so all credit to Kenny."

Five of the first team squad were given match time in the Development League match against Motherwell on Tuesday night. The manager continued:-

"With the match next week being on the Friday we will not be able to play anyone in the 20s next week. It was great to see Hopkirk do so well. Ryan Wallace did really well as well. They all played well but especially those two. Hoppy got a couple of goals, there were some really good performances and that is what you are looking for from your older pros in 20s games. They should set a good example and make sure that they put pressure on the boys who are playing ahead of them."

The return of Marc McAusland is particularly pleasing to Allan Johnston given his signing target has not worked out for him yet. He confirmed that Liam Smith is definitely somebody that he is interested in but Hearts are for now unsure about loaning him out.

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