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Dunfermline: Reece Cole has been training with former Pars hero as midfielder eyes Fife derby glory

Cole and Cardle
Cole and Cardle

Reece Cole insists he is fighting fit after putting in the hard yards with former Dunfermline hero Joe Cardle.

Cole, 23, has found first-team opportunities limited since arriving at East End Park in July.

He has made seven appearances for the Fifers, with just two of those coming from the start.

And Cole has revealed that he has been topping up his conditioning with old Partick Thistle pal Cardle; a highly-rated coach in his own right.

As well as putting the playmaker through his paces, Cardle is also well-placed to verse Cole on the pressures of shining at Dunfermline — and the drama of derby day against Raith Rovers.

“I have been doing a bit of training with Joe [Cardle],” explained Cole. “When you are not playing, you don’t get the match fitness that everyone gets.

“I felt that I needed to do a little extra to keep my sharpness up — because when I do get the chance, I have got to be ready.

“Joe probably won’t like me saying it, but he is a bit of an old boy now! So, he has plenty of experience and advice for me.

“As much as we are very good mates, he will tell me what I need to do better. I’m not there for a jolly.”

Blessing

As well as the physical challenges of being out the side, Cole could be forgiven for finding his first few weeks as a Dunfermline player a mental grind.

But he has a healthy sense of perspective following previous battles with injury.

Cole in action

“It is tough — but I was out of football for a year,” recalled Cole. “And to be coming in training every day is a blessing. I won’t take anything it granted.”

Cole was bright in the closing stages of Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Inverness, despite being utilised just behind striker Kevin O’Hara due to injuries to Nikolay Todorov, Craig Wighton and Kai Kennedy.

With doubts persisting regarding the availability of that talented trio, Cole may yet be called upon to reprise that unfamiliar role tonight.

“Coming on in the No.10 role maybe suited me,” he continued. “There was space between the defensive line and midfield. The manager told me to pick up those pockets and get on the ball.

“I just want to get on the pitch and help the boys in any way.

“Hopefully, when my chance does come I can show everyone what I can do — fans, the manager and the boys.”

Dead-ball specialist

Indeed, Cole had an opportunity against Inverness to illustrate his attacking ability.

A late free-kick on the edge of the box appeared perfectly set up for Cole to replicate his East End Park screamer for Partick Thistle back in November 2019 — but Dom Thomas stepped up and hit the wall.

“I had lined it up but I think Dom saw the way the keeper positioned himself and thought he would have a go,” smiled Cole. “He has no excuse to not let me have one against Raith!”

Kingdom of Strife: What has gone wrong for Dunfermline, East Fife and Cowdenbeath as Fife clubs prop up THREE divisions?

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