Dan Pybus insists a cathartic triumph over Raith Rovers would lift the entire town of Dunfermline, confessing that the Pars ‘owe’ the supporters a gutsy derby day display.
The East End Park outfit have endured an underwhelming start to their Championship promotion bid, drawing against Morton and slipping to a ramshackle, sloppy 3-0 defeat against Partick Thistle on their own patch.
While little was expected from a subsequent Premier Sports Cup clash against Rangers, to go in at the break 4-0 down was dire. That the shell-shocked Pars steadied the ship to only lose 5-0 was cold comfort.
Into the roof of the net! 💥
Kemar Roofe with an absolutely EMPHATIC finish for Rangers' fourth goal 🔵
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) August 13, 2021
And Pybus has no intention of underplaying the importance of Friday’s trip to Stark’s Park as Dunfermline seek to ignite their stuttering campaign.
“We need to dust ourselves down because Friday is massive,” said Pybus. “I know that it is only the third league game of the season but it is a derby — and a chance to get the season going.
“We owe the fans after the last three games. Now we can really focus on the league and hopefully start putting wins together.
“Everyone wants to win a derby and that can kick-start the mood in the whole town, never mind the football club.”
Fighting for a place
Reflecting on what could — if searching for a silver lining — have been perceived as a learning curve and a valuable experience for a young squad, Pybus added: “We need to stop learning and start performing.
“You could say it is ‘good experience’, but it is not a good experience because you have just been thumped 5-0.
“Last week [Partick Thistle] was a learning curve; maybe Morton was a learning curve — but ultimately it’s not good enough.”
From a personal perspective, Pybus can at least take some satisfaction from completing just his second full 90 minutes for the Pars.
And the 23-year-old was far from the worst performer in black-and-white, even if — by the midfielder’s own admission — his performance was not one of his best.
“I probably wasn’t good enough off the ball in the first half against Rangers, but I don’t think anyone was,” added Pybus.
“But I just want to work as hard as I can every day in training to try and earn the manager’s trust, and the supporters’ trust. I’m here to get myself in the team and stay in the team.”
Looking to the Rovers clash, it will be intriguing to see whether boss Peter Grant sticks with a 3-4-3 exploited by both Thistle and Rangers, or switches to the back-four which latterly helped to limit the damage in Govan.
Pybus added: “We changed formation [at half-time against Rangers], went with a back four and personally I think that we were a bit more solid — but still not good enough.
“It was a lot better than the first half but I don’t think that we could get any worse.”