ALLAN Johnston hopes Dunfermline can ‘turn their season around’ with the Fife derby win over Raith Rovers that everyone at the club craves.
The Pars were expecting to be challenging for a promotion play-off spot in the Championship this season after romping their way to the League One title last term.
However, instead, they currently find themselves languishing in eighth spot with just two victories to their name, whilst Fife rivals Raith Rovers are riding high in third.
Dunfermline’s downfall has been defensive frailties but there remains confidence that, if they can resolve those issues, they have the squad capable of shooting up the table.
Johnston believes there would be no better time than the visit of Raith to turn in the kind of battling performance he insists the Pars are capable of.
The Fifers manager said: “If you look at their form recently, Raith have been doing really well recently.
“But I think that getting a win against a team like that, especially with them being the rivals, would give the club a massive boost.
“And hopefully turn our season around as well.
“I still think we’ve got good players and a couple of results would give us that confidence back and the spring where you expect to win games.
“But the only way we can get that is by everybody pulling together and working incredibly hard for each other.
“That means defending and attacking and throwing yourself in front of things.
“That’s the only way you can turn things round.”
A third league win of the campaign looked on the cards last weekend when Joe Cardle gave Dunfermline a 2-1 lead with just 10 minutes remaining away to Dumbarton, but the Pars allowed their hosts to equalise within seconds.
However, Johnston was encouraged by his squad’s angry reaction to yet another bitter disappointment.
He added: “The boys are right up for this game. What I liked last Saturday was they were raging, they weren’t happy at the end of the game.
“They know themselves that wasn’t acceptable.
“It’s good to see that, because you need a reaction and they’re not just accepting it.
“Now, we need to turn that kind of desire into results.”
Raith bagged the Kingdom’s bragging rights in the first derby of the season back in August when two goals in the last 20 minutes earned them a 2-0 victory.
That result allowed Rovers manager Gary Locke to get one up on Johnston, who was his boss when they formed the management team at Kilmarnock for eight months two seasons ago.
However, Johnston is eager to play down the pair’s dugout clash across the Fife divide.
He commented: “It’s about what the players do. It’s a derby game and it’s about us making sure we get the best out of our players.”