Title charge is just champion

Nathan Austin scores East Fife's first in their 2-1 win at the weekend. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.Nathan Austin scores East Fife's first in their 2-1 win at the weekend. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.
Nathan Austin scores East Fife's first in their 2-1 win at the weekend. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.
It's little surprise there's a '˜Championship' feel around Bayview at the moment.

The Methil men are sitting pretty in League Two in second place, just a couple of points behind Elgin City and poised to nab top spot from them if there are any slip ups.

Leading them from the front are Nathan Austin and Jamie Insall, a combination which really seems to have clicked since the turn of the year.

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The two are a class act, with League Two defences struggling to cope with their speed, power and ruthlessness in front of goal.

Of course, Insall and Austin have an advantage, spending their days in full-time training, with Championship promotion hopefuls Hibs and Falkirk respectively, while the defenders they torment prepare just a couple of times a week around their own jobs.

And Austin, who hit his 19th goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Arbroath - Insall netting the other from an Austin delivery -reckons his day time spent training with the Bairns is already paying dividends.

The striker, loaned back to the Fifers after his transfer window move, said: “I started at Falkirk two weeks ago and the boys have all accepted me.

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“I’m able to get to work on parts of my game which I can’t when I’m training two hours on a Tuesday and two hours on a Thursday, which is kind of rushed.

“In full-time football I get more time to work on the parts of my game that I’ve not been able to work on before.

“I’m enjoying it.”

Given his performances across 2015 it was no surprise the striker, brought to the Fifers from amateur club Leven United, was being courted by full-time clubs.

Several from the Premiership and the Championship had the striker watched, before Peter Houston made the move in January.

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Austin’s start to 2016 got even better when he followed up his move to Falkirk by picking up the January Ladbrokes player of the month prize.

“It was kind of surprised by that to be fair but I’m delighted with it,” he said.

“Obviously, though, the most important thing for me is that the team is doing well.

“We have five wins now out of six.

“We’re in a good position but we just take one game at a time and don’t get ahead of ourselves.

“Stirling on Saturday will be another tough game.

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“They beat Montrose 7-0 so we’ll have to be ready for that.”

Despite Binos being in good form themselves at the moment, they won’t be relishing a trip to Bayview.

The Fifers are flying and are the team to be feared in League Two.

Their most recent success came at the weekend, when they managed to overcome Arbroath with a 2-1 win.

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The margin of the score may have been narrow, but the win was a convincing one, with the home side passing up a few decent chances to add to their tally in the second 45.

Austin said: “We deserved the win.

“During the second half we played well and created a few opportunities to score.

“After last week against Montrose (when the Fifers let a two goal lead slip) it was going to be nervy but the boys did well to hold on.

“I was due Jamie an assist because of one before when I chipped it and he’s missed it.

“Luckily I got the next one over to him and he’s not going to miss.”