English League 1

Dugdale may return next week

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Tue, 09 Apr 2013 18:31:00

Jack Payne's ankle injury is not as bad as Peterborough initially thought and the on-loan midfielder could be fit for Posh's Championship clash with Watford.

Payne, on loan from Gillingham, was forced off shortly before half-time against Huddersfield on Saturday with suspected ankle ligament damage, which would have kept the 21-year-old on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

However, a scan has revealed nothing more serious than bruising and Payne has a chance of playing against the Hornets at the weekend.

"Jack is not as bad as feared," Posh boss Darren Ferguson told reporters on Tuesday.

"There is plenty of bruising and swelling, but only a small amount of ligament damage so he has a chance for the weekend.

"He won't train this week and we will leave to the last minute because he's become an influential player for us."

The central defender was part of the team that was humiliated with a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of city rivals Hearts at Hampden last May.

But there is the opportunity for redemption this Saturday as Pat Fenlon's men prepare to take on Irn-Bru First Division outfit Falkirk in the first semi-final of this year's competition.

McPake insists he will travel to the national stadium without fears of another catastrophe and is instead determined to make up for the pain of last year's derby disaster.

He said: "It's a great achievement to make a final one year and a semi-final the next and it could be a great day out for the fans too. But it's only a great day if you win.

"If you ask the fans if they liked their day out last May, they will say no, it was one of the worst days of their lives. That's why we need to turn this round. We need to start turning those bad days into good days for the people of this club."

If Hibs are to clinch a second cup final slot, it will be done against the backdrop of a Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign that offered much but ended up in dejection.

The Edinburgh outfit sat top of the SPL in November and went on to beat champions-elect Celtic two days before New Year. But since then, they have won just once in the top flight, ultimately costing them their place in the top six.

McPake admits he has no idea why the side have slumped so badly and has warned his team-mates that Saturday's meeting with the Bairns must be used as a springboard to better things.

He said: "It's a huge disappointment because when we sat down before the season to discuss what we wanted to achieve, the minimum was the top six.

"People will say you haven't done enough, but for most of the season we were worthy of a top-six slot. It was only the last few weeks we were not in the top six, but that's football.

"We've only won four games since beating Hearts in December but that shouldn't have happened. That's the bottom line. You can't look at tactics and you can't look at what happens outside. There was games that we should have won but didn't.

"There was games where we played badly, and games where we didn't deserve anything. The St Johnstone game at home springs to mind. I can't think of a reason why that happened but it's something we have to change and change quickly."

The SFL enforced the immediate points deduction following a board meeting on Tuesday.

The penalty puts the Irn-Bru First Division side into ninth place, below Cowdenbeath in the relegation play-off spot.

The SFL also imposed a transfer embargo which prohibits the club signing players aged over 21 until they come out of administration.

Dunfermline will also be subject to a further 10-point penalty and be required to pay a ?150,000 guarantee if they do not secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement by the start of next season.

A statement from the league read: "The Scottish Football League regrets the current situation that Dunfermline Athletic FC finds itself in.

"We are fully aware of the impact this situation has had on all concerned, especially players, staff and fans of the club.

"The SFL has a duty to protect the integrity and on-going smooth-running of the league and therefore following a thorough process, the SFL board has decided that Dunfermline Athletic Football Club Limited is guilty of conduct contrary to league rules, the interests of the league and its member clubs."

The statement finished: "In the face of current challenges, our ultimate aim is to ensure that clubs survive and communities continue to have a local team to support."

Dunfermline have the right of appeal but their punishment is more lenient than recent penalties issued for the same offence.

Dundee were deducted 25 points after going into administration for the second time in October 2010, while Gretna and Livingston were previously demoted two divisions during the summer break.

Dunfermline are now eight points above bottom club Airdrie and two behind Cowdenbeath on 27 points, with five games to go until the end of the season.

There is no relegation from the First Division if reconstruction plans are voted in, but the Scottish Premier League looks unlikely to secure the 11-1 majority needed to send the plans to the SFL clubs for approval.

Seven first-team players were made redundant after Dunfermline went into interim administration two weeks ago in a bid to avert a winding-up order over a ?134,000 tax bill.

Alex announced the news that Jude, the son of Dugdale and his partner Nicola, was born with complications and sadly lost his fight for life on the eve of last weekend's trip to Wembley to play Southend in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final.

Following Sunday's 2-0 triumph at the national stadium, Dugdale's team-mates revealed T-shirts paying tribute to the family and manager Steve Davis is hopeful the 25-year-old Liverpudlian can be back among his squad sooner rather than later.

"It has been a really emotional time and we all wanted Duggy and Nicola know that they were in our thoughts at Wembley," he told Crewe's official website. "Duggy had helped us reach the final and he deserved to be there.

"Hopefully, he will come back some time next week and get back involved with the group. He knows what the club think about him and we will help him as much as we can.

"It is a close-knit family here and Duggy may need that release of getting back into it. They have had to sort a few things out at the hospital but we hope to have him back soon."

Railwaymen full-back Matt Tootle paid a heartfelt tribute to Dugdale in the aftermath of Wembley glory.

"I've been close to him for about three years now and for something like that to happen to someone so close to you, it's emotional," he said. "You've got to try your best to try and get the word out and get the fans understanding without actually giving too much away of what he's going through.

"I'm over the moon to give a little bit back. This isn't going to get him back what he's wanted for a good long while but it will give him the belief, with everyone giving him that support, to hopefully come back and be stronger.

"The game was overshadowed by what life is and the things that can happen. I hope it gives him a little bit... I don't know what to say - a little bit of a push on because I know how low he is at the moment."

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