Dunfermline Press

McPake wary of Diamonds

- Rhart@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

JAMES MCPAKE has praised former Pars star Rhys McCabe for the “really good football” his team play as he prepares his team for a “tough game” at Airdrieoni­ans this Saturday.

Dunfermlin­e head for North Lanarkshir­e for a second meeting with the Diamonds this season, and are looking to extend their unbeaten run against them to six games.

The two teams were both promoted from League One last term Airdrie successful­ly negotiated the play-offs after the Pars claimed the title - and have made solid starts to life back in the second tier.

Athletic, whose scheduled game at home to Queen’s Park on Saturday was postponed due to the weather, sit fourth in the table on 18 points, following their win over Arbroath last midweek.

McCabe’s side are one place and one point further back, having won four of their seven home games so far this season, including against second-top, Raith Rovers, and thirdplace­d Partick Thistle.

McPake’s men took the bragging rights when they met on the opening day at KDM Group East End Park, but he is wary of the challenge awaiting his side.

“They’re normally eventful for different reasons! The games we’ve played against them over our time at Dunfermlin­e, and Rhys’ time at Airdrie, have been entertaini­ng games,” he told Press Sport this week.

“They’re a good side. I’ve got a lot of respect for the job he’s done in there, so it’s going to be a tough game, we know that, going down there, but it’s one we’re looking forward to. I know I got a bit of stick last year for saying that they were the best team we played, but that’s still my opinion of them. I had no reason to just come out and say that. I’ve never worked with Rhys, or played with him, so I certainly wasn’t trying to talk him up as a mate - it was just the job he’s done, and the job he continues to do.

“They play really good football and they’re a dangerous side with a lot of threats in their team, so I’m not surprised they can hurt any team in the Championsh­ip as well.

“There’s not too much of a change, certainly in the way they play from what we played last year, so we certainly know it’s going to be a tough game.”

Dunfermlin­e go into it in optimistic mood on the back of their 3-0 win over the Lichties, which came on the back of a deflating Scottish Cup exit to Raith.

“I think the full performanc­e against Arbroath was really pleasing,” McPake continued.

“First half we weren’t as potent at the top end of the pitch.

“We didn’t create as many chances as we would’ve liked, but we had complete control over the game, something which is not easy to do, particular­ly back off which we believed was a poor performanc­e by our standards. To get the performanc­e level back up to that was the pleasing thing and, for the full game, I just felt the lads were excellent in the way they handled that game. Then, late on, we got the rewards with probably the hard work in the first half, moving Arbroath about, causing them a bit of problems come later in the game. The boys proved that and went out and got the three points, which was important.

“This is a different game. I don’t believe we’ll have as much of the ball as Arbroath allowed us to have. Airdrie try and dominate the ball, so it’s a different game completely. We’re away from home, but it’s a game we’re looking forward to, and we’ll have a plan in place to go down there and come away with a positive result.”

 ?? ?? Pars boss James McPake (right) anticipate­s a tough test for his side this weekend. Image: Craig Brown.
Pars boss James McPake (right) anticipate­s a tough test for his side this weekend. Image: Craig Brown.

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