After swapping Cliftonhill for New Bayview, Darren Young has had a hard task of putting together a squad in time for Saturday’s league opener against Stranraer. Here is my take on how the squad is shaping up so far.
After losing numerous loanees this summer, The Fife have had it hard when trying to bring in new players. Added to that, the injury crisis which has hit Young in the BetFred Cup matches, it hasn’t been an easy job.
With Mark Hurst leaving, Thomas Cordery has came in to provide cover and challenge Ryan Goodfellow while Mark Docherty and Ben Gordon have been brought in from the Championship, with Craig Watson joining from Hamilton. The defence overall looks strong, with Jonathan Page also there to complete a menacing four centre-backs for any side in this league. With Docherty being versatile, I suspect he will feature more at left-back. The full-back roles are probably the thinnest of the defensive positions and I would suspect Young will be looking to address this over the coming weeks.
With Young seemingly building most from the back, the further forward options are less varying. Kyle Wilson and Nathan Flannigan have been brought in on the flanks, with Mark Lamont and Kyle Wilkie also able to fill in those positions. In the middle of the park, Paul Willis, Kieran Millar and manager Darren Young himself feature, with Ben Reilly able to provide cover along with Chris Kane in both midfield and defence. With all this considered, the area of the park needing less work done to it is this, with a very strong pool of players to choose from when all are fit.
Leading the line is Kevin Smith, the East Fife captain, alongside Chris Duggan,. Ross Mutch and Ryan Inglis are youngsters able to fill in to this position but may not be fully ready yet to cver throughout the full campaign. Another area which needs addressed, in my opinion, is the introduction of at least one further forward to the squad.
Overall, once everyone regains fitness, I feel The Fife have a good chance of finishing mid-table. I think it may be too much for them overall to make the top four but I do not see any maor concerns with relegation, if the players perform to the levels they are capable of.