STEVIE CRAWFORD has praised the desire of his Athletic players and insists that they won’t slack off in their play-off bid.

After being named as the Championship’s Manager of the Month for February last Thursday, the Pars head coach watched Bruce Anderson seal their fifth win on the spin at Alloa on Saturday and maintain their grip on fourth place.

Ahead of the visit of second-top Dundee United – who are just six points clear – Dunfermline could move level with Ayr United in third if results go their way, and Crawford believes his men are “pulling in the right direction” to achieve success.

“I keep mentioning it but we have changed the team, and it’s not through the disappointment in performances,” he explained.

“It’s looking at the opposition and thinking, ‘Is this our strongest 11 we’re putting out?’. It’s not to say the players are agreeing, the ones who have maybe been left out, but they’re responding in the right manner.

“There’s no-one going about with their face tripping them, and winning games of football obviously helps that, but it’s not just the starting 11 that wins games of football.

“Everybody at this moment in time is pulling in the right direction.

“I want players hungry, I want people playing for this club with a passion and wanting Dunfermline to do well. It doesn’t guarantee that just because we’re together, we’re going to win every game of football, but it gives you a better chance of success.

“There’s a desire there, and the word I keep using, togetherness, and long may that continue.

“It’s going to be a tough one against Dundee United at the weekend so we can’t afford to get carried away. We’ve got ourselves into a decent position in the league at the moment but we’re hungry to keep the run going.”

That run earned Crawford his first accolade as Pars boss and, in dedicating it to his late brother-in-law, he added: “It’s just the reward in my eyes for hard work.

“What it ends up doing is getting people talking about Dunfermline in a positive way; that’s the thing I took most from it. It’s a personal one for me in terms of that he wasn’t a football person, but he was a massive influence on me in the way he managed people.”

Crawford added that Aidan Connolly is out for Saturday but Faissal El Bakhtaoui is progressing.