Declan seeking starter for 20 oddFriday, 16th Oct 2020
“Every player, whether they have played here or not, knows how big a club Dunfermline is and knows the club should be in the Premiership.
For Dunfermline Athletic the Betfred Cup has proved to be a great start to the delayed 2020-2021 season but the league is top priority and Declan McManus claims that for everyone at the club, that is the main goal:-
“The cup is always a great competition to be in and you want to be in it for long as possible. Every player wants to win trophies so we take these games as serious as you would any competitive game.
“We’ve got three wins and three clean sheets, all good signs going into Saturday. We are excited for the game because the league is where we want to be at our best and try and win as many games as possible to get us where we feel we belong, back in the Premiership.”
Since the Pars returned to the Championship in 2016 Hibs, St Mirren, Livingston, Ross County and Dundee United have achieved the promotion that Dunfermline have sought. This season Hearts are odds on favourites with William Hill offering Dundee at 9-1, Inverness 12-1 and both Ayr United and the Pars at 20-1 to win the league. Declan dismissed the bookies support for the Tynecastle club stressing that Dunfermline will be out to win every match.
“I think I can speak for the rest of the players, we’re focussed on ourselves. We know we’re more than capable of going all the way, regardless of Hearts, Dundee or whoever it is in the league. It’s going to be tough, Hearts have got a very good squad and Dundee have signed some really good and well known players. That does not matter on a Saturday, we’re only focussed on winning every single game.”
The Premiership ambitions at Dunfermline attracted Declan back for a second time when he signed for the club in July 2020:-
“I came here knowing a lot of people around the club and the expectations of the club and fans. Every player, whether they have played here or not, knows how big a club Dunfermline is and knows the club should be in the Premiership. Some people might say it’s a sleeping giant and it’s up to us as players to help the club to get back to the Premiership.”
It was Allan Johnston who first brought Declan to Dunfermline in June 2017 but this is his first time working with Stevie Crawford and the current coaching staff. Declan feels that they have made it easy for the new boys and it has helped to quickly make the team gel.
“I feel like we have a really good squad and good boys on a personal level, as well as good footballers. When the manager and the coaching staff came in for the first day, it was about making sure everybody got to know each other and the staff. Sometimes you can go into a new club and it takes you a while to find your feet and everyone on the same pathway.
“It’s very difficult to do any bonding just now, it’s strict rules. Turning up to training individually and then you’re straight away again as soon as training is done. You don’t really get the chance to bond away from training but we’ve been talking in the group chat most nights and in training the manager and staff always try and keep the feel good factor. It’s all good signs and the staff have made it an easy transition for the boys.”
Declan amassed 24 goals in 34 games while on loan to Falkirk last season. That surpassed his previous record of 23 in 35 games while on loan at Morton in 2014-2015. He is keen to get off the mark again at Dunfermline but on Tuesday night it was a case of role reversal at Kilmarnock:-
“Especially after seven months out the main thing is to win the game and anyone who scores is good. Big Muz has come in with three headers and Fraser had a fabulous free kick. Anybody can score as long as we’re getting the wins.
“I crossed it in for Fraser’s header, it gave us the 2-0 lead, it was a big step in the game, it calmed us down a bit and maybe even killed Killie off a bit.”
Dec is keen to start hitting the net and the 26 year old now feels that he has the experience to be as successful in the Championship as he was in League One for Falkirk and Morton. He added:-
“All the best strikers are consistent year-in, year-out and get a certain number of goals and I want to make sure last year was not a one-off. I want to go again and even try and beat the 24 goals that I got last season.
“It’s a big season for me. I know I’m a good player and a good goal scorer. I think in my younger years I was overly harsh on myself and that maybe held me back a wee bit. With experience and playing games, you learn things and grow as a person and player. I feel like I’ve done that a lot in the last couple of years. Hopefully I can get 20-odd goals for Dunfermline and take the club back to where it should be.”
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