BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Allan Johnston is desperate for a Dunfermline victory over Peterhead tomorrow to repay the fans who dug deep to help fund an overnight stay for the squad.
The Pars Supporters’ Trust have dipped into their finances to ensure the Fifers do not have to make the gruelling journey to the north-east on the morning of the game.
With some members of the East End Park squad travelling from west of Glasgow, Johnston found his team started sluggishly in the 2-1 defeat at Balmoor in August.
And, with the Blue Toon on a 10-match unbeaten run, having scored an average of three goals in their last nine outings, Johnston is hopeful a more relaxing Saturday build-up to the game will reap rewards for Dunfermline.
He said: “It’s brilliant that we’re able to stay overnight and it should help us.
“The last time we just felt, with boys coming from the other side of Glasgow and then going to Peterhead, it’s a long way to go.
“It was just too much and you could see they were tired in the first 20 or 30 minutes of the game. They took a wee while to get going and hopefully this will help.
“It doesn’t guarantee you anything, but certainly if you’re trying to do things properly then it’s the right way to do it.
“It’s a great gesture and hopefully we can repay them with a win.”
Ahead of schedule
Meanwhile, Dunfermline will be boosted for the encounter by the return ahead of schedule of former St Mirren defender Marc McAusland.
The 27-year-old has been sidelined since the Fife derby against Cowdenbeath on January 2 when he had to be substituted in the 2-1 with an ankle injury.
However, after it was feared the stopper could be out for at least a month, Johnston has praised club physio Kenny Murray for helping McAusland return earlier than expected.
Johnston added: “Marc trained on Thursday for the first time and it’s obviously great to have his experience back because we have been struggling for defenders.
“He’s come back really quickly, probably just over a week earlier than we had hoped.
“Usually with an ankle problem you would have been looking at another week or two, anyway, so Kenny has done really well to have got him back so quickly.”