East Fife look for more signings to join Hibs loanee in Methil

East Fife signed Joao Baldé on loan from Hibernian at the end of last week – and manager Stevie Crawford is hoping to bring in at least three more players before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Midfielder Joao Balde has joined East Fife on loan from Hibs, and made his debut against Bonnyrigg Rose (Photos: Kenny Mackay)Midfielder Joao Balde has joined East Fife on loan from Hibs, and made his debut against Bonnyrigg Rose (Photos: Kenny Mackay)
Midfielder Joao Balde has joined East Fife on loan from Hibs, and made his debut against Bonnyrigg Rose (Photos: Kenny Mackay)

The Fifers boss was pleased to get Baldé on board, but admits the squad still needs to be strengthened further.

But, similar to many clubs at the moment, East Fife are finding it tough attracting the right players to the club.

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Crawford said: “We have got budget to get players in – it’s not a case of my hands are tied in terms of that – but it’s proving hard to get deals over the line at the moment.

"That’s not an excuse, that’s reality. I’m aware that we need to strengthen the squad; it’s going to be a long season and we need to try to get at least three more bodies in.

“I’ve got the budget there to do it, but if you’ve not got boys prepared to come and play at League 2 level, then what do you do? You can’t wave a magic wand. I understand there are frustrations there with supporters, but I’m not taking this lightly.

"If they want, they can come and look at my laptop and see how many players I’ve looked into over the summer, along with my coaching staff – everybody that’s working at the club is bringing players to our attention, we’ve just got to keep fighting until we get the boys over the line to help strengthen the squad for the challenges that we face.”

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Key to the club’s recruitment policy is bringing the right players in. Players with strength and experience are required to help younger boys.

“As much as I like working with young players, we’ve got to get the right type we bring in, not just young boy after young boy, because there has to be leaders within the group,” said Crawford.

Meanwhile, the Fifers latest recruit is 20-year-old midfielder Joao Baldé. He joined Hibs in January from Civil Service Strollers before being loaned back to the Lowland League side for the remainder of the season.

Baldé came through the Academy at Rangers before moving to Livingston in the summer of 2020 then on to Civil Service Strollers for the start of the following season.

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Crawford said: “We are delighted to add Joao to our squad. He brings something different to what we already have, and he can play in a number of positions which gives us more options. He is very comfortable on the ball, has good energy and we are looking forward to working with him this season.”

Baldé made his debuts as a first-half substitute during Saturday’s match against Bonnyrigg, and showed flashes of his trickery.

Speaking afterwards, Baldé said: “I felt comfortable when I came on because I’d already trained with the boys on Thursday. It was good the manager had the confidence to put me on, so that was good.

“I’m a creative player, I like to go and make things happen. I’m happy to play anywhere in the midfield, but I don’t mind whether I play as long as I can help the team.

“Last season when I was at Civil I scored quite a few goals. That’s what I’m trying to add to my game, scoring goals; so hopefully I can keep developing that side and get more goals.”