Dunfermline manager John Potter has acknowledged that he is “under the microscope” as the Pars’ promotion hopes hang by a thread.
Potter has guided the Fifers to just four wins from his 15 matches in charge since replacing Jim Jefferies in the dugout last December, with last Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat against Morton arguably the nadir of his tenure.
Dunfermline are five points adrift of Brechin City in the final play-off position, ensuring tomorrow’s trip to Peterhead has taken on the guise of a must-win encounter.
Potter, whose own contract expires in the summer, admits that the pressure is on as he attempts to meet the lofty expectations associated with managing League One’s biggest club.
He said: “Of course I have felt under pressure you are under the microscope in management, especially in the sort of job where there are massive expectations.
“There are demands at this club and what we have done so far is not good enough I understand that and so does the group.
“There is always pressure in football and I have dealt with it in the past as a players. You can’t let it affect you and you can’t read too much into what other people say.
“The only people who can affect the situation are the players I pick on a Saturday.
“People think that, because of the stature of Dunfermline, we should be winning every week and climbing through the leagues with ease. It’s not as simple as that, but it is up to myself, the coaching staff and the players to give ourselves a chance.”
Potter has certainly not thrown in the towel in the bid to pinch a play-off place, adding: “I am not giving up and I won’t let any of my players give up.”
Dunfermline will at least be boosted by international starlet Lewis Martin returning to the fold after 10 days in Austria with Scotland’s under-19 squad.
Last week’s headlines were dominated by Real Madrid prospect Jack Harper being left out of Ricky Sbragia’s 18-man party for the European Championships qualifying tournament in Austria, citing the young forward as a “luxury”.
However, Pars centre-half Martin did make the cut for the squad, which narrowly missed out on a place in the summer finals despite emerging unbeaten from their three matches against Austria, Italy and Croatia.
Potter joked that, despite their current woes, Dunfermline must be on the right track if international coaches are looking towards East End Park rather than the Bernabeu.
Martin’s absence was sorely felt as Dunfermline succumbed to a dismal 4-0 home defeat against Morton last Saturday, but will be in contention for a place this weekend.
Potter said: “Lewis Martin is back, which is fantastic. He was away for 10 days and we missed him on Saturday.
“It was a good experience for him to be away with Scotland and working with players of that calibre.
“You just need to look at the boys in that squad . . . and the ones who didn’t get in.
“It’s been mentioned that we had a player in the squad, while Real Madrid couldn’t manage it we must be doing something right! For a club like Dunfermline to be represented was great, and I think we have one or two other young players who should be setting their sights at that level.
“It was well-deserved. Lewis has played almost 50 first-team games for us now, which, for an 18-year-old centre-back, is incredible.
“It is very difficult to play in that position in a league as physically demanding as this one.”