Dunfermline winger Joe Cardle will be spurred on by last year’s frustrations as he bids to recapture his sparkling early-season form.
The fans’ favourite made his comeback in last weekend’s victory over Livingston after five weeks out with a hamstring tear and has told Fraser Aird he wants his place back.
The injury came at the wrong time for the 30-year-old, who claimed he felt in the shape of his life as he scooped the Championship player of the month award for August.
With nine goals from his opening 11 matches, Cardle is desperate return to those dazzling displays now he is back fit – and avoid the disappointments of last term when he started just eight games after August.
He said: “Fraser’s not had a chance for a long time but he took it last weekend, so every credit to him.
“I thought he did very well and scored a good goal.
“But it’s my position that I want to be playing in. That’s how football works.
“I want him to do well and the team to do well, but I want that spot in the starting XI.
“Everyone knows how frustrated I was not playing last season, so the last thing I want is that happening again.
“I’m feeling great. I’ve worked hard in the rehab to get myself back fit, and I’ve just got to look after myself now and get myself back to what I was doing before my injury.
“I’m confident I can do that.”
Two of Cardle’s goals this season came in a 5-1 thrashing of Inverness Caley Thistle back in August.
However, the Pars attacker expects today’s opponents to provide a stiffer challenge this time round after going unbeaten in their last four games and ending Ray McKinnon’s reign with a 2-0 win against Dundee United last weekend.
With Dunfermline in second, just two points behind St Mirren, Cardle added: “We were very good and I got two goals myself, but they’ve got some good players, Premiership players, so we’re expecting a tough game.
“But we’re up there just now and we want the three points because we want to keep on St Mirren’s coat-tails.”
Meanwhile, Dunfermline have been handed a huge boost after full-back Ryan Williamson penned a 12-month contract extension, keeping him at the club until May 2019.