13 October 2020 22:42
You can't win anything with kids – so the old saying goes anyway. The Kilmarnock boss has endured his most testing spell as gaffer with his entire first-team squad forced into self-isolation. He took the decision to forfeit last Tuesday's Betfred Cup clash with Falkirk as he says it wouldn't be fair to expect a full team of Under-18s to compete at senior level. But for tonight's game against Dunfermline he has up to five senior players to choose from, and as far as Dyer is concerned it's game on. The Rugby Park boss has been working hard since the players have been off as he hasn't been forced to isolate due to not coming into close contact with the players in training.
Obviously we have the Dunfermline game first which we are going to fulfil. "Three of the boys that tested positive first trained Sunday and Monday. Hopefully they get through that and if they do then we can play the game with some of the kids." So I can have five senior boys against Dunfermline." "Hopefully they will go on and be good professionals but at this present time it wouldn't be right to put 11 of them into a senior game. If, come Wednesday, these five lads are ok then at least I know I will have four or five and that will help the kids. I choose which ones are best prepared for it with the help of the youth coaches.
They are good kids. DOM THOMAS would've been disappointed to miss a Rugby Park return but is keeping his fingers crossed for the good health of former team-mates. The 24-year-old left Kilmarnock in the summer to sign permanently with Dunfermline after a successful loan spell last season and is set to go head-to-head with his former employers this evening. The Premiership club's manager, Alex Dyer, has confirmed that they will play the Pars after forfeiting their opening tie with Falkirk last Tuesday. On the Friday prior (October 2) it emerged that six positive cases of COVID-19 were identified at Kilmarnock, and their first-team squad were told to self-isolate for 14 days. Their Premiership match with Motherwell that evening was postponed and, after deciding not to field a youth team to play their match with the Bairns last Tuesday, the League One side were awarded a 3-0 win. Yesterday, however, Dyer stated that he has four senior outfield players and a goalkeeper to select for this evening, with the rest of his squad supplemented with youth players. That means Thomas and Iain Wilson, who also moved from Rugby Park to East End Park in the summer, will return to their old stomping ground looking to maintain Dunfermline's impressive start in Group E. They top the section after winning at Dumbarton and at home to Falkirk on Friday, where Thomas created both goals for captain Euan Murray. Speaking to Press Sport after the game at Dumbarton, where there was still doubt as to whether tonight's match would take place, Thomas said: "It's a shame and I hope the boys that have got it are OK first and foremost. "I just think there could be a lot of that in the coming months with teams; it's so hard to handle the virus just now. "I've still got a few good mates there so I've been speaking to them. They're just frustrated at being stuck in the house for 14 days, which is not ideal, but the main thing is they keep fit and healthy and they get back out playing. The last thing we want is another break so we'll be looking after ourselves off the pitch and keep ourselves fit and healthy, take every game as it comes, and hopefully get more three points on the board and good performances." He continued: "It is just good to get back playing and to start with a win. "We played some really good football and were creating a lot of chances but we've still got a lot to build on, as obviously it's our first competitive game in six months. You can see the positive signs are there so we'll take a lot from this game. "That was the first 90 minutes out there for a lot of us but the thrill is just to be back playing football and we've got games coming thick and fast, which is a good thing for us. At the end of the day, we're just glad to be back playing football. "I don't think we've actually lost a game, even the pre-season games, which is good, you want to build that winning mentality. "That dressing room's full of winners and that's what we want to do – win all season and take the club as high as we can possibly go." Speaking to his club's website yesterday, Killie boss Dyer said: "A couple of the senior boys have trained today with the young lads. "It was obviously disappointing to have to forfeit the Falkirk match, but the welfare of the kids was the most important thing. "Half of them hadn't even played any reserve team football. With five first team players in, at least we can give Dunfermline an actual football match. "I'll work with their coach to see which ones are best placed to make that step up to the first team. With senior players alongside them, they'll be ok."