Dunfermline midfielder Joe Chalmers heads into Saturday’s away match against his former club, Ayr United, with optimism as the Pars look to solidify their place in the Championship play-off spot.
Currently sitting fourth in the table, this Saturday’s match is the Pars first of three in eight days. Even fitting in his 30th birthday on Wednesday, Joe sees this busy period around the holidays as crucial for momentum. “I’m looking forward to it. This is when the table starts to take proper shape and you can get a judge of exactly where you are going into January, when teams will be looking to do (transfer) business,” he said.
While injuries have continually hampered Dunfermline, Joe evaluates the first half of the season positively. “If you had said we would be sitting in fourth at this point we would have been quite happy,” he admitted.
“The way the season’s panned out, we feel as if we should have more points. We’ve let a few games slip away or there’s been games where we felt we should have got something from and we’ve lost. When you look at the course of the season we’ve never had a fully-fit squad, so injuries have taken their toll as well. If I take everything into consideration – the injuries and a young squad and coming up from the league below – I think we’re happy with fourth position but you always want to do better.”
When players return from injury, competition for places heats up. Joe found himself dropped from the starting eleven last weekend but took it in his stride. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench I just always look to try my best and if I can help the team in any way then that’s my main aim,” he said, emphasising the strong team spirit.
That team spirit produced an added time equaliser to salvage a point at Arbroath. “It’s important sometimes when you don’t play well and it’s not been quite your day you go right to the end,” Joe added.
The Pars will need to go the full 90+ minutes again facing an Ayr United side that impressed in beating them earlier this season:-
“If I go back to that game we played them at home, they could have scored three or four that day. We didn’t play well at all that day but they came with a plan – and it worked and they were very dangerous. They’ve got some good players, especially in the wide areas, and they’ve got Anton Dowds up there, who is a handful and a big strong boy. They’ve got plenty of threats and it will be a difficult game for us.”
Joe joined Dunfermline from Ayr United in January 2022 and this will be just his second time back at Somerset Park since he left. While the midfielder may take some obligatory stick from the home fans, he’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces at his old stomping ground. “Going back and seeing people that were good to you and looked after your family and so on, it’s nice to see them,” he closed.