Squad Building PrioritySunday, 30th Jun 2013
30/06/13: Jim Jefferies starts with a first team squad of only a dozen outfield players and two goalkeepers
With the new season due to kick off in less that four weeks, Dunfermline Manager Jim Jefferies claims to have only a dozen outfield players and two goalkeepers in his first team squad for the forthcoming season. Speaking exclusively to the website JJ said:-
"We have the boys who had already signed two year contracts but the boys who are out of contract can only be signed from month to month until such time as the Club is taken over. They cannot be offered any long term contract because the administrators would be bound to the contracts and it is not known yet what will happen to the Club.
"You can understand their point of view but it is a risk to the Club because there is always a possibility of losing compensation payable for young players moving on. Once everything is settled the most important thing is getting them contracted to the Club so that we know where we are going."
The Manager lamented the league sanctions that limit the Club from signing players over the age of 20 years and 364 days and the confusion caused by reference to 21 years of age. He had already spoken to players that he now finds are ineligible. On the positive side many names are being fed to him of 20 year players who might be of interest.
"I have drawn up a list of positions that we need to strengthen but the problem is that we need trial games as quickly as possible to have a look at them and see if they are good enough to come in.
"Right now our numbers might look like 20 or 22 but a lot of these boys are last season's under 20 squad and they weren't playing regularly until the end of the season. Some are 16 and 17 years of age but we will lose the under 20s squad for this season because of the cost factor. So in terms of what we have to regard as first team players, we have 12 outfield players and two goalkeepers so that is not ideal!"
Three younger players have left - Grant Munro, Andy Ritchie and Scott Campbell. In Scott's case he failed to recover from a serious knee injury but Jefferies hopes that the Club will be able to assist with the highly thought of 19 year old's recuperation.
"He will not be on the books but I am sure that he will be delighted to join us if he can get himself back up to full fitness but we could not risk holding on to him in case he didn't."
The pre season matches are all at East End Park and are against clubs that they are more familiar with than the ones the Pars will face in this season's Second Division. Hearts and Falkirk will be the opponents on Saturdays 13th and 20th July while Jackie McNamara's Dundee United are the visitors on Wednesday 24th. Traditional pre season opponents East Fife actually host the opening league match on 10th August and before that on the last Saturday in July the Pars will travel to meet near rivals Cowdenbeath in the Ramsden Cup First Round.
"It doesn't matter who it is, every game is going to be tough with the lack of experience that we have got" continued Jefferies. "Most of the teams in the Second Division have experienced players who seem to circulate around. Every game will be a hard one and there will be a lot of teams in the league who will be more experienced than ourselves.
"We will just have to deal with it and improve. We showed signs last season against good sides like Partick and Morton that we can handle that."
Jim Jefferies is no different to every other follower of Dunfermline's future. He acknowledges that there appears to be obstacles that are delaying a signed, sealed and delivered way forward for the Club:-
"There is not a lot that we can do about it, we just have to prepare for the season ahead. It will depend on who gets control of the Club and what they say when I sit down with them. If they say the right things in terms of taking the Club forward then we will get on with it."
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