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Football: We can go toe to toe with Dons even with Lee's gammy foot.

Byline: JIM LEISHMAN

MAYBE Jimmy Calderwood will sympathise with how I am feeling this season as I certainly know how he is feeling these past few days.

I hear Barry Nicholson has joined Michael Hart, Richie Byrne, Ryan Esson and Jamie Smith on their long-term casualty list.

Managers hate to bang on about injuries as punters switch off in their droves but I have a duty to say this.

The injury list at Dunfermline is the worst I have came across in all my time involved in football - as either a player or manager.

We've had a horrendous injury list this season - and last term - and it is bordering on freakish.

Lee Makel came into East End Park the other day for training and then told me he could not do anything as he had a poisoned toe.

You could not make that up.

How can managers legislate for that kind of injury?

It is unbelievable. It also plays havoc with your team selection as you could have formulated a line-up in your head in midweek. But one day's training and it could all go haywire.

Deep down fans are not interested in injury lists but if you want to win games you have to put your best team on the park.

I would tear my hair out if I had any left to tear out. Anyway, Saturday's game against Aberdeen is all I'm worried about.

This is an important game for us and we have a decent cushion of seven points on Livingston with 10 games left.

The players aren't nervous and you just have to take it one step at a time at this stage of the season.

Despite what happened last season nobody has spoken about the prospect of relegation.

The team has set themselves targets that will remain in-house but we are the home side and we have to take the game to the Dons.

We've been playing not too badly recently and we will be doing our utmost to gain all three points.

A lot of people have also been asking me about the CIS Cup Final but I'm not interested in that.

At this moment in time the Celtic game at Hampden is a million miles away.

The players are not playing for cup final places.

No, it's more serious than that. They are playing for their livelihoods.

I'm not interested in how many tickets the Dunfermline fans have snapped up for the Final either.

But although I want to put it on the back-burner, I've not banned it completely from the dressing room.

We all feel there will be plenty of time to address the Celtic game.

It will only start occupying my thoughts and the minds of the Dunfermline players at 4.45pm tomorrow.

By that time we'll have hopefully seen off the challenge of Aberdeen.

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WHAT'S YOUR POISON? Makel before his toe went septic
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
Words:510
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