East Fife injury list blamed for dip in form

East Fife manager Barry Smith
East Fife manager Barry Smith

Barry Smith admits his lengthy injury list is really starting to damage to club’s promotion ambitions.

Looking around the main stands over the past few weeks, the Fife support will have real frustration at what might have been.

At a key point in the season Smith is having to do without some of his biggest players while others are taking to the field and putting in a shift when they really shouldn’t.

That’s a testament to both those players and the difficulty Smith is experiencing trying to guide the club into the play-offs.

The manager is unlikely to have any of his injury concerns settled with the club visits Albion Rovers this weekend, but is just having to get on with it.

Smith said: “We are where we are at the moment and on the run that we’re on.

“It’s not made any easier with the injuries we have.

“Jonathan Page, Scott Robinson and Kyle Wilkie are big players for us.

“That’s no disrespect to the boys we’ve brought into the team because they’re all due their place.

“But not many teams could cope with the amount of players we have out.”

The Methil men slipped three points out of the play-off zone after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Peterhead on Saturday.

It wasn’t a great afternoon for East Fife who failed to really ask too many questions of their visitors.

Smith said: “I don’t think we started well but began to get a grip of it after they scored.

“We looked like the team with momentum when we scored and then got them in at half time.

“But we didn’t start the second half well enough which is disappointing because we tend to do that.

“We gave Peterhead something to hold onto and they did.

“We never tested their ‘keeper enough.

“We ended the game with three strikers on the pitch and one of them, Kevin Smith, shouldn’t even really be playing but needs must.

“He’s putting himself on the line but realistically he shouldn’t be involved.”

Attention now turns to the weekend when the Fifers meet Albion Rovers – a side that lost 2-0 away to Queen’s Park on Saturday, and who sit just one point below.

“We need to keep working hard and it will turn,” said the boss.

“There are three games left and it’ll turn for us - we know that and we’re confident we can do that.

“There’s still everything to play for.

“We’re disappointed with the Peterhead game but Saturday brings another game and that’s what we have to focus on now.”