Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 16th Jun 2016

16/06/16: player to miss start of season due to operation.

Allan Johnston feels that the first four days of pre season has gone well and he has delighted that his players have returned in good shape:-

"Compared to where they were at this time last year, a lot of them have come back a lot fitter. It is always a good sign when you see that and they are all desperate for the season to start. They obviously want to make an impact so onwards and upwards.

"They are all glad to back and wee things like the players lounge getting done up make a massive difference."

Nat Wedderburn has not started his pre season training since he had his wedding already booked. He will be reporting in on Monday and the manager added:-

"Hopefully he will be in good condition and he will have a successful year. The other new boys have fitted in and done really well; I think they will be big players for us this year."

The manager has experience of Lee Ashcroft and Gavin Reilly from his time at Kilmarnock and Queen of the South and he claims that it always helps when you know the guys that you are signing.

"You know what they are good at and how much they can bring to the team."

The first pre season friendly is against Partick Thistle a week on Saturday and that follows the formula from last season - two weeks training then the first game.

"In the first game they will only play 45 minutes and then you build that up to 60 in the second game and so on and so forth. We have to be careful because we have a really tight squad just now. Callum Fordyce is just coming back as well but he is making really good progress. He will probably not be ready to start the games."

Michael Paton will miss the start of the season since he is to have a hernia operation. The manager added:-

"We have let it rest over the summer hoping he would come back fine but he is still feeling it so we are better to get it fixed just now. He went to see a specialist the other day and it was confirmed what we thought so he is getting the operation on Friday. Hopefully he will back in between four to six weeks.

"It is important that everyone is as fit as they possibly can be and are 100% right. What is good is that it keeps good competition for places, keeps everybody happy. Sometimes you can have too many players.

"Obviously we are still trying to get Faissal El Bakhtaoui. At the moment it is the same situation, waiting to see what other offers come his way. He has a few other offers but he has not decided where his future lies. We are not ruled out but obviously he does not want to commit either."

The manager feels that bringing in another three players would take his squad to an ideal size. "Nineteen or twenty would be a good first team squad with some of the young boys coming through as well."

At the moment there will be no days off and the players will be training on Saturday. AJ closed:-

"We started early, we were one of the first teams back but we did the same last year. It means we can take our time; yesterday was more of a recovery day because we did two hard days. It is important to do that rather than come back late and try and rush everything and pick up injuries. We take our time and make sure that we do everything right."

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