Dunfermline fan John Potter lands dream job

John Potter, a fan of the Pars since boyhood, has taken over in the East End Park dugout. Picture: Craig Brown/SportPix
John Potter, a fan of the Pars since boyhood, has taken over in the East End Park dugout. Picture: Craig Brown/SportPix
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John Potter insists that he will waste no time in putting his own stamp on the Dunfermline side he has inherited from Jim Jefferies as he bids to get their promotion bid back on track.

The former St Mirren and Clyde defender celebrated his 35th birthday on Monday by taking over from Jefferies at his boyhood heroes.

Now he is desperate to prove the board right in handing him the reins for at least the remainder of the current campaign.

Having spent the last couple of seasons as the Pars’ under-20s coach while still being registered as a player, Potter – who was on the bench for the first team as recently as last week – yesterday revealed he was hanging up his boots to concentrate on his dream job.

However, with nerves ­jangling ahead of his debut as boss in a baptism of fire against promotion rivals Stranraer ­tomorrow, the Dunfermline-born rookie is adamant he will be his own man in the dugout.

He said: “I had a wee chat with the players on Wednesday morning about what’s ­happened, where I am, what I am wanting from them, what my ideas are – and it’ll be different.

“Although I worked with Jim, I was basically the under-20s manager so I’ve got different opinions on things – on players, on training, days off, how we train, where we train.

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“That will be put into place in the next few weeks and already a few things have changed.

“The players have been great, they’ve been quite receptive and they’ve enjoyed it, but it’s about getting results and hopefully we can do that.

“In football terms I’ve got a fair idea of what I want to do, where I want to go, and being out on the training pitch is the bit I really enjoy.

“It will be a wee bit of a learning curve for me, but hopefully I can learn that quickly.”

Potter previously turned down the opportunity to speak to Hearts about a role in their youth set-up because Jefferies told him he would have a pathway to first-team management if he remained at Dunfermline.

That move has come quicker than expected, although the plan was always for Jefferies to train up Potter and Neil McCann to succeed him, probably at the end of this season.

The Pars board look to have covered their backs by appointing the inexperienced Potter initially only until next ­summer. Although he insists he is not looking too far ahead, the 35-year-old is clear that he has no plans to relinquish a post he has always wanted to fill.

He added: “This is my club, this is where I was brought up, this is the club my ­family ­support and the club I came to watch when I was younger, so for me it’s a great achievement and I’m really proud to be ­manager.

“I’m not thinking longer-term at the moment. To be honest I just thought: ‘I’ve got the job, it’s mine’. I know it’s an old cliche but I genuinely have to take it day-by-day, week-by-week.

“Obviously in football you’ve got to try and have a wee plan in place and look ahead, scouting for players and that sort of thing.

“But my aim is to concentrate on the immediate future and see where it takes us.

“I want to prove I’m the right man for the job. I’ve got the chance and I’ve said to the players: ‘If you’ve got the jersey, keep it’.

“They’ve got to work hard and do the right things to do that, and I suppose I’m the same.

“I know it’s a results-based business. It’s my choice to get into it. I could have stayed as a youth manager for as long as I wanted probably, but I didn’t want that. I wanted this and now I’ve got it.”

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