My East Fife players are showing their commitment

Chris Kane wheels away after hauling East Fife level at Ochilview. Picture by Scott Louden.
Chris Kane wheels away after hauling East Fife level at Ochilview. Picture by Scott Louden.

Barry Smith heaped praise on his players for their commitment to the club, revealing that several are playing through the pain barrier.

The manager has been without some top team players for weeks now with Kyle Wilkie, Tony Wallace, Jonathan Page, James Penrice and Ryan Goodfellow amongst the regular starters forced to sit things out with serious injury.

There are others who could have joined them on the sidelines, but Smith says there’s a desire in the squad to patch themselves up when they can and take to the park on a Saturday.

The injury situation at the club played a factor, according to the boss, in the weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Stenhousemuir.

Smith said: “It’s not that the boys aren’t trying hard enough, a few of them are playing through injury.

“Kevin Smith has been carrying a knock for weeks but playing through it and Scott Robinson picked one up at the weekend.

“Pat Slattery is another but he wanted to at least be on the bench for us to come on if we really needed.

“And that’s fair play to those boys.

“James Penrice may be back for the weekend but he’d probably be the only one.

“Jonathan Page has been trying to get too quickly and he won’t make it.

“With so many carrying a few knocks I just don’t think we looked at our sharpest against Stenhousemuir and found ourselves second to everything.

“That isn’t like us.”

Despite their defeat, the Fifers remain in a strong position in the table, just a couple of points outside the play-off zone.

Given their healthy goal difference, it’s a one game swing which sees the Fifers ready to pounce on any slip-ups from those above them.

If you’d offered that scenario to the newly promoted League Two winners at the start of the season there’s little doubt they’d have bitten your hand off.

It reflects what has been a great campaign and one which Smith doesn’t want to see his side let burn out early with a few games still to play.

“I’ve said it before that it’s credit to the players for putting themselves up the league,” said the boss.

“They now want to go on and end the season well.”

Stenny went into last weekend’s game propping up the division with the side above them, Peterhead, visiting Methil on Saturday.

The two are locked in a basement battle and are desperate for points to preserve their League One safety.

Stenny proved on Saturday that can give a side that added edge, and Smith is expecting a similarly tough test when the Blue Toon arrive.

He said: “We have to concentrate on this next game and get back to playing to the high standards the players have been setting for themselves.

“We knew Stenhousemuir would throw everything at us and they gambled in their forward and attacking positions.

“I know Jim McInally will have his side fired up but we will be too because there is still a lot for us to play for this season.”

Likely to be out for the weekend are Kyle Wilkie, Tony Wallace, Ryan Goodfellow, Jonathan Page and Scott Robinson.