Manager on ThursdayThursday, 7th Jul 2016
07/07/16: AJ:- "We`ve just got to be patient and make sure that when different players become available hopefully we get them.
Allan Johnston was not giving away much about his views on the trialists who have been at Dunfermline of late. He said it was difficult bringing in players when some were waiting to see what options are available in England. Of the trialists fielded so far he said:-
"Maybe one of the younger lads could be signed up soon as a Development player capable of pushing for the first team."
Recent trialist Mark Beck has joined Blackpool for their pre season training at St Andrews this week, AJ commented:-
"Nothing`s happening with Mark. He`s away to Blackpool on trial, they`re having a look at him and he`s getting an opportunity there. They`re playing a couple of games up in Scotland, so it`ll give us a chance to have another opportunity to have a look at him. We`re just keeping our options open just now. We`ve not offered him anything just now and we`re just having a look to see what different options are out there.
Saturday`s pre season friendly against Hearts provides the opportunity for home fans to get a first look at the manager`s new signings - Nat Wedderburn, Lee Ashcroft, Gavin Reilly and Paul McMullan. The manager confessed that he feels that he still needs to sign another two:-
"I`m probably looking for strikers, if I can possibly get them. So is everybody. Everybody`s saying the exact same thing and it`s difficult because everybody is looking at the same types of players as well.
"We`ve just got to be patient and make sure that when different players become available hopefully we get them."
Allan Johnston like every other manager is trying to get the signing business done early but he pointed out:-
"If players are going to go on trial down south then the teams down there are not long back. It`s difficult for teams like ourselves, trying to get players in, when players have maybe got other options down south. We`ve just got to be patient, take our time and get the right players in.
"There`s no point bringing in players who aren`t going to play. You need players who are going to be competing for first team places because we`ve got a good set of players already and it`s all about trying to improve it."
Asked the weekly question regards the possibility of Faissal El Bakhtaoui returning AJ replied:-
"The deal for Faiss is still on the table just now, until maybe something else comes up for us. He was great for us last season, he was a massive player, and we would be delighted to get him back but if a player comes up then we`ve just got to move on.
"Who knows what will happen? You`d have thought he`d have something sorted already if he was going to move on. It (being out of contract) can work for you but it can also work against you as well. The longer it goes on and you`re not doing a pre-season can limit your options."
Returning to players he has signed and Saturday`s pre season friendly against Hearts, Allan Johnston continued:-
"We`ve managed to bring in a couple of players - some decent players. I think Lee Ashcroft will do really well for us. He`s a big, aggressive centre-half and I`ve worked with him before, so I know what he`s all about. He`s still a young lad and can still improve but he`s at a good age and I think he`ll be a big player for us.
"He`s a good talker in defence and I think it`ll be good for Ben (Richards-Everton) as well, having someone like Lee along side him.
"Nat`s another one, he`s still a young lad, even for the size and stature of him. He`s played in the Premiership and he`s got a lot of ability. he`s a good passer.
"Then, we`ve got Gavin Reilly up front, who can score goals. This week, we`ve brought in Paul McMullan as well. He`s a young lad and he`s got a lot to learn but he`s definitely got the natural ability. We`ve just got to get him playing the way we want him to play.
"We`ve got Callum (Fordyce) coming back and he`s probably going to play a part of the game on Friday night (v Civil Service Strollers). That`s a massive step forward for him. He`s been joining in training in the last couple of weeks and you can see he`s been getting better and better every day.
"He`s been out for a long time and it was a serious injury he got. But he`s worked incredibly hard to get back to where he is. You can see the difference it`s made in the last couple of weeks - he`s getting more confident and you can see he`s getting fitter and sharper and he`s just got to keep on improving."
Giving an update on current injuries the manager added:-
"Sean Murdoch is out with a wrist injury, so we`ve just got to take advice from Kenny Murray (physio). We don`t want to take any chances at this stage of the season. We`ll take a bit of advice and make sure he`s all right, because it`s a long season and we need everybody fit and available
"Hopefully it will be short-term with Sean but I`m not a doctor or a physio. Sean was a massive player for us last season but it`s a new season and you`ve got to make sure you are the number one come the start of the season and get yourself back fit. David Hutton has come in and done well, so it`s good to have different options and competition.
"Michael Paton is starting to build up his rehab as well, so I don`t think he`ll be too far away either. He should be back within the next few weeks, everything going well. We don`t want to rush him back and he ends up back to square one again. We`ll take our time and make sure he`s fully fit, because he`s obviously missed a good bit of pre-season training as well. He`s another big player for us, so it`s important we`ve got these types of players back fully fit.
"David Hopkirk has been back training in the last couple of days. He`s been out with a back injury but he should be fine as well and hopefully we can get him some game-time over the next couple of weeks."
Commenting on seventeen year old PJ Crossan`s move to Celtic AJ said:-
"I hope PJ does well through at Celtic. He`s a great lad and we would rather have kept him but it`s difficult when bigger clubs come to take some of your younger players. That`s the way it is and you have just got to move on. We wish him all the best and hopefully he does well.
"It`s a big club and it`s a hard one to turn down, going to a massive club like Celtic, especially as he is a Celtic supporter as well. So, it`s probably a dream come true.
"He`s got all the attributes and he`s just got to make sure he keeps on improving, the way he has done in especially the last six months. From where he was, there`s been a massive improvement. If he keeps progressing like that then I`m sure he`ll do really well."