BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Joe Cardle admits he and his team-mates will be under huge pressure every single week this season as they bid to lead Dunfermline to promotion and away from the financial pitfalls of another year in League One.
Although their first campaign after relegation from the Championship, sparked by administration, was always going to be difficult, given the presence of Rangers in the division at the time, last term was a great disappointment as the Pars struggled to a seventh-placed finish.
Massive changes have been made since then, with Allan Johnston being appointed as manager to replace John Potter, who has returned to a coaching role, and a host of new signings having been recruited.
Cardle, who was sacked by the Fifers when they suffered their financial meltdown in March 2013, is one of those new faces, having returned to his old club after a disappointing season in the Premiership with Ross County.
In contrast to the outfit he left just over two years ago, the 28-year-old is convinced he has re-joined a club on the up under Johnston, an opinion that would appear sound following a 4-1 victory over Arbroath in the Petrofac Training Cup and a 5-1 hammering of Cowdenbeath in the League Cup last Saturday.
However, the former Port Vale, Airdrie and Raith Rovers winger is aware there have been suggestions the Pars could be forced to go part-time if they do not go back up to the Championship and confesses it will up the stress levels on a weekly basis at East End Park.
He said: “I’ve heard a few whispers here and there about what could happen if the club don’t achieve their goals this season.
“I think the boys know that. Everybody’s playing for their livelihoods and we know what the circumstances are for the club.
“Obviously it’s going to put pressure on the boys on a Saturday but that’s what you play football for.
“There’s always pressure involved and if we keep playing the way we have done for the last couple of games and build on that we’re definitely going to go somewhere.”
The Pars kick off their league campaign with a trip to face Brechin City this afternoon and Cardle is clear that he hopes it is the start of the club returning to the good times he enjoyed in his first spell.
Johnston’s new-look side will be most people’s favourites for the title and Cardle is eager for them to live up to that billing, starting from today.
He added: “It’s great to be back. I think everyone knows how happy I am to be back playing and everything else.
“Everyone knows how big a club it is – everyone says that when they sign for the club – but the club means so much to me.
“To come back, my main aim is to help the team get back to where they belong and hopefully that’s the Championship – and then further on.
“Every game is a cup final for us. It’s a massive season for everyone in that changing room and we want to start with three points on Saturday.
“The last two games have been pretty successful. We’ve played some good stuff, kept the ball, scored goals and created chances.
“To come out and score five goals in the second-half last Saturday just shows you what we’ve got in that changing room.
“I’m enjoying it and I’m definitely looking forward to the league starting on Saturday.”