Dunfermline Athletic

Martin ready for all the Queens men

Friday, 6th Mar 2020

“We are hard to break down now and with the players we have going forward we can cause any team problems.”

When Queen of the South are the visitors to East End Park on Saturday, Lewis Martin will face his one time Dunfermline management team, as Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark return in charge of the Dumfries side.

Lewis made 77 appearances under Johnston and Clark in their first two seasons together before injury ruled him out for the bulk of the 2018-2019 season. The Pars defender maintains that the Fifers are ready to take all their opponents can throw at them:-

“We always want to win but will want it a bit more because they’ve been here. It will be a tough game but hopefully we can do well and get the win.”

Allan Johnston was Dunfermline manager from May 2015 until January 2019 and he won 79 of his 168 games in charge. Lewis’ last matches for Johnston were the two play off matches against Dundee United in May 2018, he continued:-

“He will just be desperate to win really because it didn’t work out well here. He is coming back, he won’t be in his office but he will be getting them as fired up as possible to play us.”

Following their 0-0 draw away to Partick Thistle on Tuesday, Queen of the South sit in ninth position, three points above Partick who have played one game less. There is an eight points gap between Queens and Dunfermline but Lewis pointed out:-

“The league is that tight it could be anybody really. There is not much in every team, if you get a few wins then you go up the table but if you start losing a few games it can take you down. I think that has happened to them recently, they have not won in a good few games.

“Stephen Dobbie is their best player, he is still probably one of the best players in the league. It is some career that he has had and it is always tough playing up against him. I am sure that we will be able to handle it.

Another reunion on Saturday could be with former team mate Michael Paton who had joined Dunfermline in July 2015 from Queens and made 82 appearances over three seasons. Lewis added:-

“He did really well here especially in League One. He got released after not getting a new contract and ended up going back to Queens. I think he is doing well there again, that is good for him. It will be nice to see him.”

After the disappointment of losing to Inverness a little unjustly, the win over Dundee United created confidence and belief but at Gayfield on Wednesday night they had to settle for a draw.

“Especially against Dundee United we have been working a lot on our shape and I thought that showed that we work hard to bring you down and we have players on the counter-attack who can cause any teams a problem.

“We showed that on Saturday and against Inverness we were hard to break down. We lost goals to a free kick that just went over the line and the deflected goal but with the players we have going forward we can cause any team problems.”

The 23 year old whose contract was extended until end of season 2020-2021 in January 2020, felt that the point taken at Arbroath on Tuesday night was probably a good point.

“It was a tough game, it is always like that up in Arbroath. There are constant long balls and we were defending for most of the game really. You cannot play much football on the park but I thought we defended really well as a team. It was a clean sheet and overall it was a good point.”

The conditions, the pitch and the way Arbroath combines to make it hard for visiting teams to play in the way that they would like to. Lewis explained:-

“They set up to be hard to get beat, they play a lot of long balls, just constant long balls and commit a lot of fouls. They are hard to beat, it is hard to get going and it is all defending.”

“It is always like that when you go up there, it is not the best game football wise, always a battle and it was like that again on Tuesday night.”

It was noticeable on Tuesday night that coach Greg Shields was offering advice all the way through the match, fine tuning Lewis and others positioning. Lewis appreciates Greg’s advice since he played in the same position for Dunfermline on 237 occasions.

“He does that every game if I am on his side and if Euan Murray is on his side. He talks to us the full game, he does it every game but I think it actually helps us because he is a lot more experienced than we are.

“He knows a lot better than we do if we are not in the correct position. Then he tells us to tuck in a bit more or not to tuck in as much but go wider. It really helps us and I enjoy hearing him. He has been there and done it, not just in his playing career but coaching as well.

“He is a brilliant coach, his training is always really good. You are going to listen to him because he is so experienced and he is a really good coach, we will learn things from him.

“He is a lot more technical, you can see that in the way he has the reserves playing this season. Playing out from the back with passing and movement. When he takes the first team for training it is really good, different styles, different coaching but the boys really enjoy his style.”

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