ATHLETIC’S pre-season results haven’t gone as Allan Johnston had hoped but the Pars boss insists his team will be ready for the league kick-off.

And he is hopeful of securing the signatures of at least two of a minimum of four players that he wants to add to his squad sooner rather than later.

Ahead of Dunfermline’s first competitive game of the season this weekend against Elgin City in the Betfred Cup, they shipped seven goals without reply in their only two open-door friendlies against Hibs and Raith Rovers.

Johnston admitted that was a disappointment but he said his players would improve with more minutes under their belt, and said the games were useful in trying different systems and running the rule over several trialists.

No further interest will be taken in those who had been training with the club last week but Johnston told Press Sport: “We’re in the process of trying to bring some others in over the next couple of weeks. We’ve got a few people recommended so we want to bring them in and have a look at them.

“There’s a couple of boys we’re trying to get in and hopefully they can pan out but you never know because things can change quickly. We know we’re still able to bring in three or four players and you can see there’s a couple of positions we’re a bit short in.

“We’re probably short up front so we’re looking to bring in at least one striker anyway, we’re probably short in the middle of the park, and then we can look at another couple of positions.

“It’d be great if you had all your players in for the start of pre-season but, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. We’re starting really early; the season’s not long in finishing and you’re starting again. If you look at the majority of teams, everybody’s in the same boat, so it’s not as if we’re the only team.”

Johnston will be looking at both permanent and loan deals “as long as we can get the best quality” but says the players he currently has will be better than what they have shown so far.

He continued: “We’ve not had a lot of games and that was on purpose because we’ve only got a small squad. We did say that we’re kind of using the first few games of the League Cup as part of pre-season as well; we probably had a couple too many games last year. It’s about finding that balance.

“You don’t really get up to full fitness until you’ve probably played two or three 90 minutes and we’re not at that level yet. Most of the boys got 90 minutes for the first time on Monday so I’m sure that was a big benefit to them. Their fitness levels were fine, it’s just about sharpness and stuff.

“You’re always learning when you bring in a couple of new things, and you try things as well; it’s the right time because you don’t really get the time during the season. On Monday, we went with two different systems; we went 4-2-3-1 in the first half, then went with a diamond in the second. We’ve got to change it about a wee bit and see what suits the players we’ve got.

“We’ve still to bring in probably four players so things change but it’s good for the players to know how to play different ways. It was the basics that let us down on Monday.

“We’ve got to try and improve but I think we’ve got a lot of good players here as well. Yeah, a couple of results in pre-season haven’t been as good as we’d hoped but it’s about learning from our mistakes.

“Our priority this year is the league. We want to do well in the League Cup, start well and build a bit of momentum but we want to be up there challenging.”

Johnston said Jason Talbot was unlikely to feature on Saturday but could feature at East Fife on Tuesday, while David Hopkirk is a doubt with a knee problem sustained against Hibs.