Page: East Fife can fly under the radar

01/08/17'HAMPDEN - GLASGOW'East Fife's Jonathon Page previews the 2017/2018 Ladbrokes League One season
01/08/17'HAMPDEN - GLASGOW'East Fife's Jonathon Page previews the 2017/2018 Ladbrokes League One season

Jonathan Page admits local rivals Raith Rovers are favourites to win League One but insists East Fife could join in them in the Championship next season.

Rovers were relegated in May after losing to Brechin City in the play-off final but Page reckons they have been boosted by the arrival of former Methil boss Barry Smith.

But the 27-year-old centre back believes East Fife can fly under the radar and maybe go one better than last season and finish in the top four.

He said: “Raith have recruited well and have Barry Smith, who was obviously with us last season. He’s an excellent manager.

“I’m sure they’ll be organised and the firepower they’ve got you’d imagine they would be the favourites, alongside Ayr United, to win the league.

“I think we need to be realistic, we are still new to this division. It’s only our second season back up but I think people may be surprised how well we did last season.

“Quietly we were confident and actually did expect to get into the top four. Again, that will definitely be our aim.

“Obviously derby games are always exciting. I think the last time we played them was a pre-season friendly and I think even in that game there was a good atmosphere.

“So I imagine in the four league games to come it’s going to be exciting. Closely-contested games.”

Page, still on the comeback trail after suffering an injury at the end of last season, is perhaps more ambitious than some of the Methil board who were simply glad that the Fifers retained their League One status last season.

He revealed: “I was sat in the stand one of the first games I was injured and as we won the game - think it was Albion Rovers we played - our directors were celebrating the fact that we could no longer get relegated.

“This was at a point we were realistically still trying to finish in third place. It just goes to show how tight and how all the teams are likely to be playing for something come the end of the season - whether it is going up, or down.

“The league has had a big change again this season with four new teams coming into the division so it’s an unknown quantity and I would anticipate Forfar and Arbroath being very good this season.

“Obviously, as last season showed you could throw a blanket over the middle teams so I would expect it to be very close right up to the end of the season.”

East Fife, who open their campaign at Stranraer today, will wear a specially embroidered shirt this season commemorating the 80th anniversary of their 1937/38 Scottish Cup victory over Kilmarnock.

Page added: “East Fife have a massive history. Obviously, things are different nowadays, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop dreaming.”