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James McPake lifts lid on Dunfermline summer transfer strategy as Pars boss hails Dave Mackay qualities

James McPake says he is working hard on transfers.
James McPake says he is working hard on transfers.

James McPake has said he is “working actively” to fill the obvious gaps in his Dunfermline Athletic squad ahead of the new season.

The manager earlier this week welcomed Dave Mackay to the club as his assistant, who he worked alongside in management and as a player – at Dundee and Livingston respectively.

Alan Main had earlier been brought in as the goalkeeping coach and so far defender Kyle Benedictus and midfielder Chris Hamilton are the only players to be added.

Both performed well during their 45 minutes in a bounce match versus Hill o Beath earlier this week but McPake knows more players are required.

That’s in terms of both strength and depth, according to McPake, needed for a “tough” League One campaign ahead.

Chris Hamilton (right), pictured with teammates Matty Todd and Lewis McCann, is one of two new recruits so far

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s preseason friendly away to Cove Rangers, he said: “It’s non-stop, but with some clubs only starting back on Thursday, it has been slower than we would have liked.

“There are certain areas, everyone will know. We have four strikers, for example, that can play No 9.

“But in certain areas we don’t have players, so we’re actively working to bring those players in.”

‘Tired going into games’

McPake, however, remains “excited” about who he already has to work with.

They have responded positively, despite the grueling fitness schedule.

It means they are “tired going into games”. he added: “There’s nothing wrong with that.

“We’re pushing them really hard… They’re not shy of hard work.”

Graham Dorrans is the only fitness doubt – his ankle injury is nothing serious but is being monitored.

Otherwise there are a few preseason niggles, normal for this time of the off-season.

McPake said that while the recent behind-closed-doors fixture was about fitness, Saturday’s match will be a chance for him to introduce more of the tactical side.

Mackay’s ‘desire to make players better’

To do so he will be aided by Mackay, who made the move from Dens Park earlier in the week.

One of their aims is to take advantage of the newly formed youth academy and ape what McPake says is his biggest achievement in management to date: developing youngsters into first-team regulars at Dundee.

“[Mackay] has a desire in him to make players better,” said McPake.

“Both of us share that vision, particularly with young players.

“That’s great for what’s building, with the academy and with [head of academy] Greg [Sheilds].

Greg Shields Dunfermline
Dunfermline’s head of academy Greg Shields

“We’ve got a batch of young players that we think we can help.

“The groundwork has been done but we need to now turn them into first-team players.”

On the qualities Mackay will bring, McPake said: “He will bring a difference in character, a calmness.

“He has really good people skills, which is important, but the trust to give you clear, sound opinions or advice.”

“We’ve got a good working relationship, the trust is a massive thing.

“That’s solely down to when you build a relationship and you know someone for so long.”

‘I know he’ll be proud’: Emotional Chris Hamilton opens up on Dunfermline family ties


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