Fifers are in fine fettle reckons gaffer

East Fife's Allan Walker and former Fifer Ryan Wallace go in for a 50/50 during the weekend's friendly.
East Fife's Allan Walker and former Fifer Ryan Wallace go in for a 50/50 during the weekend's friendly.

Gary Naysmith says he has the fitness levels of his squad exactly where he wants them as the Fifers’ pre-season schedule gets into full swing.

The side played its first game since returning from their break at the weekend, going down 3-0 to Dunfermline.

It was a good workout for Naysmith’s men against a full-time club which had the luxury of swapping nine players in the second 45.

That’s a luxury out of Naysmith’s grasp at the moment, though, as he continues to rebuild his squad.

At the weekend, the Fifers listed eight trialists in the squad to face Dunfermline and more were expected to arrive at Bayview on Tuesday night as the club welcomed Exeter City.

Former Dunfermline players Finn Graham, Scott Mercer and Declan O’Kane were given a chance to impress.

Boss Naysmith is pleased with how his side is shaping up but admitted more new faces were needed.

He said : “The fitness levels are fine.

“For 60-65 minutes on Saturday against a full-time club, we did well, so that shows the fitness is there.

“But we are low on numbers.

“I’m trying and trying to get players in but it ain’t easy.”

The manager did add three new faces last week, though, with Graeme MacGregor, Pat Slattery and Kyle Wilkie signing up.

Both MacGregor and Slattery missed Saturday’s game owing to prior commitments.

“The difference with Kyle, Pat and Graeme to the lads we have in on trial is I had seen them, whereas with Finn, Scott and Declan, I’ve not seen much of them,” explained the manager.

“They had all done well in training but I needed to see them over a couple of games.

“I’ll base my judgement on that.

“But the three of them did well.

“Finn is a little pocket rocket who’s tidy on the ball; Declan battled his corner well and put his head in where it hurts, and Scott did really well and was probably our best player when he started at right back before moving to the left.

“They’ve really given me food for thought.

“I’ll make a decision on them after Tuesday night’s game.”

On Saturday, the Fifers got exactly the kind of workout they’d have hoped for against their Fife rivals.

Dunfermline arrived at Bayview with a large and fit squad – but Naysmith’s men were a match for their full-time visitors.

“In the first half especially, we more than matched them,” said Naysmith.

“If you look over the course of the game, we probably had more chances than Dunfermline.

“But that’s a negative in itself.

“It’s positive that you create so many chances but negative that we haven’t scored from one of them.

“But, as the game went on, it became difficult for us because Dunfermline were able to change nine players and we only had a squad of 16.

“I felt my calf and had to come off, and Ross Brown also had to come off because of a tackle in the first five minutes.

“At the end of the day, we knew that, come 60 minutes, we’d struggle because of their fresh players.

“I only wanted to play them for 45 minutes but I couldn’t get any more players in.

“But the lads who played, I can’t fault their effort.”