BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Allan Johnston insists he will charge his high-flying Dunfermline side with maintaining their incredible early-season form in every game they play, as they prepare to face Forfar in tonight’s Petrofac Training Cup tie.
The Pars have enjoyed a sensational start to life under new manager Johnston, who replaced John Potter in May and has now seen his revamped side net a stunning 22 goals in just four competitive games.
Having previously won 4-1, 5-1 and 6-1 in consecutive weeks, Saturday’s 7-1 thrashing of Fife rivals Cowdenbeath in the league was the most remarkable so far.
Johnston has so far relied on the same starting XI in each outing and admits his 17-strong squad will be stretched by the current sequence of five games in a fortnight.
However, the former Kilmarnock and Queen of the South boss, who won the Challenge Cup with Queens in 2013, is adamant the Fifers will be going full pelt at their opponents again this evening.
He said: “It’s not as if we’re going to put out a weakened team. We’re going to be strong and looking to win the game.
“It is a game that we definitely want to win. I have won this competition before with Queen of the South and it is important that we keep the momentum going by winning games and keeping scoring goals.
“It gives you major problems when everybody that is playing is doing well, even the subs coming off the bench are doing well and scoring goals, but as a manager you cannot complain about that.
“We’ll need everybody over the next few weeks and it’s great to have these guys pushing for a place in the starting XI.
“We need everybody fully fit and ready to play. We’ve got a lot of games coming up over a short period of time and with such a small squad as well.
“We need to make sure everybody’s ready to play and fully fit, and make sure there’s no excuses.”
After improving their scoreline in every game so far, there is surely no chance that Dunfermline will do so again and knock eight past Dick Campbell’s Forfar, who came within a whisker of promotion to the Championship via the play-offs in May.
The Pars have found the Loons something of a bogey team since dropping down to League One following administration in 2013, with the East End Park side managing just one win in eight league matches and just one point from four clashes last term.
And, despite multiple changes to both squads, Johnston is expecting a different kind of opposition tonight to the resistance they have been met with so far this season.
He added: “We know Dick will have them well organised. He’s obviously desperate to beat us, with his relationship with the club.
“You saw how well they did last year, and in the last couple of years. He’s done a great job.
“They’re always well organised and they’ve got good players. I like Gavin Swankie, in particular, he’s always scored goals and he’s got good movement.
“So, we’re well aware of their good players and it’s a difficult place to go – not many teams go there and win.
“But I’m sure we’ll take a big following and it’s one we’re looking forward to.
“It’s a good surface. I was there with Queens before and it encourages you to pass the ball, so it should make for a good game.”