BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
JOE Cardle hopes Dunfermline can lay down a marker for the coming league campaign as well as secure Betfred Cup progress when they face Dundee United this afternoon.
The Pars travel to Tannadice stung by Tuesday’s 5-1 hammering from Inverness Caley Thistle but with a third Group C victory in their sights after comfortable wins over Arbroath and Cowdenbeath.
Cardle, who left Premiership Ross County last summer to help lead former club Dunfermline to the League One title, is fully aware a revitalised United will provide a stern examination in front of the TV cameras.
However, the 29-year-old insists Allan Johnston’s outfit will relish gauging their own progress against a team he is convinced will be one of the main contenders for the Championship crown in the coming season.
He said: “United and Hibs are looking like the two teams who will be up there challenging for the title, so it’s definitely going to be a good test for us.
“It will be a good gauge ahead of the league season and hopefully we can put in a strong performance and show we can compete against these sorts of players.
“I’m pretty sure we can. I think we’ve got enough work-rate and quality throughout our team to compete with these boys, and hopefully beat them on the day.
“Dundee United will be up at the same standard as Inverness were. They’re going to be a good team and it’s going to be a tough game.
“Tannadice is always a hard place to go to looking to pick up points. It’s a cup game but the three points are a must for us.
“It’s a televised game and there’s a lot of pressure on them, but there’s pressure on us as well because, after getting six points from the first two games, we thought we should have been up there challenging.
“We’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can make up for Tuesday night’s loss.”
Cardle will one of Dunfermline’s main attacking threats in the coming season, with his trickery on the flank likely to be matched by that of new recruit Kallum Higginbotham, the former Falkirk, Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock forward, on the opposite wing.
And Cardle is hopeful the potent pair can combine to help shoot the Pars to success this season.
He added: “I’ve enjoyed playing with Kallum so far. He’s someone I’ve admired when I’ve played against him, I’ve thought he’s been a great player.
“I’m now lucky enough to be on the same team as him and I’m looking forward to the season ahead with him.
“We’re similar sorts of players, we both like to come in off the wing and get involved, and hopefully we can continue scoring goals and making goals together.”