Cup tie will give us a chance to experiment

Kevin Smith breaks away from the Stirling defence during Saturday's 1-1 draw.
Kevin Smith breaks away from the Stirling defence during Saturday's 1-1 draw.

Gary Naysmith is planning on using the 90 minutes against Cowdenbeath this weekend to learn even more about his young squad.

East Fife will welcome their Kingdom rivals in the Fife Cup as the nation’s leagues break for international business.

While still eyeing a victory over the Blue Brazil, Bayview gaffer Naysmith says he also sees the tie as an ideal opportunity to increase his side’s skill-set for the return to league business.

“I’ve spoken to the chairman about the game and I’ll be looking at a few different things,” said the manager.

“I still want to win, but I’m also looking at resting four or five guys who have played a lot since the start of the season and leaving them out completely.

“I’m hoping to look at a few trialists, work on some different formations and giving a few of the players a chance to play in positions they’ve played for other clubs.

“It’ll also be a chance for guys like Graeme MacGregor to get some minutes under their belt.”

It may also present new signing Kieran MacDonald with an opportunity to make his first appearance in the black and gold.

The left sided player joined East Fife last week and was an unused sub during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stirling Albion.

He has a good pedigree in the game, having spent the past couple of seasons with Premier League side Hamilton.

Naysmith admits he’s been a long time admirer of the 22-year-old.

“He’s a player I’ve seen a lot of,” said the boss.

“He played for Clyde against us in the play-offs and I tried to sign him around that time.

“But the offer to go full-time with Hamilton came in and he took that.

“From there he went out on loan at Dumbarton and then back to the Hamilton first team.

“I have to say that I was surprised he hadn’t been snapped up after leaving Hamilton.”

MacDonald will give the Fifers further options down the left, said the boss.

“It’s an area of the park we had been looking at,” said Naysmith.

“He’s a player who likes to get forward from left back and can also play further forward in midfield.”

At the weekend the Fifers disappointed in the second 45 after leading at the break thanks to a Nathan Austin opener.

The manager said the players had been bold enough to accept responsibility for the dropped points themselves.

“We got them in at half time and just told them to be wary of a few wee mistakes we’d been making that hadn’t been punished,” said Naysmith.

“We knew they’d come out a different side so we had to make sure we matched them for the first 15-20 minutes.

“But the lads just didn’t get going. They admitted it after the game.

“It wasn’t a tactical thing or anything myself and Dougie Anderson did, the players just took responsibility for it themselves.”

The Fifers will still be without defender Stevie Campbell when Cowden come calling this weekend.

“He’s still four or five weeks away,” said Naysmith.

“He was due to start the Clyde game but then injured himself in the last five minutes of training.

“It’s credit to the lads they’ve been doing so well without his experience.”