Dunfermline good enough to stay in SPL, says Jefferies


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The Independent Football

Jim Jefferies is confident he can rescue Dunfermline from relegation from the Scottish Premier League this season after taking over yesterday. The veteran manager, 61, gave a media conference after agreeing to a 15-month deal just days after the club sacked Jim McIntyre.

Jefferies now has eight games to save the Pars, who are currently bottom of the standings and four points adrift of nearest rivals Hibernian.

"I know it's going to be tough and it's going to be tough for clubs above us as well. But I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't think there was a chance. It would have been pretty pointless," he said. "We want to try. Things can change very quickly. There are enough games and enough points."

Jefferies' first match is Saturday's SPL match against St Mirren as he aims to gain Dunfermline's first league win at home this term. However, the new manager believes there are signs that the team he has inherited is good enough to remain in the top flight.

He explained: "I said to the players this morning that it is hard to get into the SPL but it's harder to stay here and they've got to prove that they're good enough to stay here."

Jefferies is well aware he must try to change the mindset of a side which has spent most of the campaign languishing at the wrong end of the table. He said: "That's one of the reasons I've been given the job, the experience I've got in dealing with players.

"It's about making them believe that they can stay up. Talking to them this morning, they seem a decent bunch. It's major cup finals they've got between now and the end of the season.

"They are playing for themselves and for their own futures. That's football but we will help them all we can and try to give them the confidence to do that.

"Hopefully we won't be in the First Division next season. But, if it happens, we have to prepare to get back up in one go. That's the negative side and we are very positive. That's the message I'll be getting across to the players."

Jefferies plans to retain the services of the current assistant manager Gerry McCabe as his No 2, with long-time partner Billy Brown now at Hibs. He said: "I said to the chairman that I was quite happy to keep Gerry. Billy is already at a football club so I had to work with somebody new.

"I've known Gerry for a long time. The good thing at this stage is that Gerry knows the players and what makes them tick so I can learn a lot from him. If I brought in somebody new, they would have the same problem that I've got."

Asked about being pitched into a relegation battle against Brown, his former assistant, Jefferies replied: "It's great – I'm looking forward to it!"