BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
LEWIS Martin has confessed he feared for his Dunfermline future after spending four months on the sidelines through illness and injury – but the defender is thrilled to have penned a new two-year deal.
The 20-year-old was a mainstay of the Pars rearguard at the start of the campaign but, after a short spell out recovering from a car crash in September, the youngster was struck down with a virus in December.
The Scotland under-19 cap was diagnosed with viral pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining surround the heart, and was prescribed total rest to recover.
When he did eventually make his comeback, he injured his hamstring in his first full training session.
The youngster confesses to frustration at having to sit things out as the Fifers landed the League One title with weeks to spare last month.
However, any concerns he may have had over being out of contract were allayed on Thursday when he penned fresh terms to tie himself to the East End Park club until 2018.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Stranraer, he said: “I’m obviously delighted the club offered me a new contract.
“I played last week for the first time since December, so hopefully I can play the next few games and kick on next season.
“I was a wee bit worried what might happen. I thought I played quite well up until December, so I thought I might have got something and thankfully I did.
“It’s nice to get things sorted, this early especially, and now I know what’s happening over the summer, which is good.
“It’s a two-year contract, which is a bit of security for me as well. Hopefully now I can play well next season.”
Martin made his Dunfermline debut in the Championship just days after turning 17 in 2013 but has been forced to endure life in League One ever since.
With manager Allan Johnston having helped restore the Pars to the second-tier for the first time in three years, however, the versatile young stopper is already looking forward to making the step up.
He added: “In my first year I made my debut in the Championship as a sub against Morton, but that’s the only game I’ve played in that league.
“So, hopefully I can get a few games next season.
“We’re trying to push the club back to where we belong, basically.”
Martin returned to action for the first time since December in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Forfar and is set to keep his place in the side for the trip to Stair Park today.
It may be a ‘dead rubber’ for the Fifers as they see out the season, but Martin admits he is keen to make up for lost time.
He continued: “I played mostly every game up until December and then I was ill. Then when I got back from that I pulled my hamstring in my first training session, so it’s not been the best for me, personally.
“But the gaffer wants us to keep winning in the last few games, so whatever team he picks then hopefully we can do that.”