We’ll finish with a flurry

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With the season nearing its conclusion, East Fife boss Gary Naysmith says he expects his side to finish strongly.

The Methil side are still hanging on to the final remaining play-off spot after their 2-0 win over Arbroath at the weekend.

But others are breathing down the necks of the Methil men, with Annan, Elgin City and East Stirlingshire all ready to pounce on any slip ups.

However, Naysmith reckons the rest are chasing a lost cause, pointing to the returns of some crucial players as the race heats up.

The manager said: “We’re looking to have Kevin Smith back for the Montrose game and Julen could be back for the Clyde game.

“We’ve been running on the bare bones for the past few weeks but a few players are starting to return now.

“When our squad is back full again I really expect us to end the season really strongly.”

Another of those on his way back from injury is Caolan McAleer who came off the bench at the weekend to grab East Fife’s winner.

McAleer was set up for his goal by fellow sub Alan Cook - and Naysmith hailed the impact both players made on the game.

The gaffer revealed that their introductions were planned and made at exactly the right time.

“We expected Arbroath to tire a bit towards the end of the game because they’d played Albion Rovers in midweek,” said Naysmith.

“So we had a game plan and that was to bring our two fresh wide players off the bench towards the end.

“The two of them worked well and Caolan scored a great goal which was really pleasing.

“When it’s 4-4-2 and you have seven or eight players winning their personal battles like on Saturday then you’ve got a great chance of winning the game”

The win was the perfect response to two defeats on the bounce.

The second defeat, away to East Stirlingshire seven days before, was a particularly tough one to take for the boss.

More time was spent throughout the week watching video footage of the way the Fifers have been conceding goals and the players clearly took it all on board with a mean defensive display.

“I was really happy with how we bounced back,” said Naysmith.

“We did a lot of video work throughout the week because there were a lot of things defensively I wasn’t happy with.

“Normally I show them two or three clips but it must have been around 30 this week.

“We did a lot better at defending set pieces and crosses but now I’m concerned at how these crosses are getting into the box.

“If you give a team 18 crosses then eventually they’re going to score with one of them.”

This weekend former Fife coach Paul Hegarty brings his struggling Montrose side to Bayview.

Naysmith says he expects them to come out all guns blazing.

“Where they are in the league, a point won’t really be good enough so I expect them to come and have a go at us and start with two strikers.

“Paul Hegarty is always very organised so I expect his team to be too.

“On Saturday they kept it at 0-0 until 73 minutes and then conceded a goal on 75 which as a manager you can’t do much about.”