Dunfermline can stay in SPL, says goalkeeper Chris Smith

Smith has made several high profile errors in Dunfermline's goal
Smith has made several high profile errors in Dunfermline's goal

Dunfermline Athletic goalkeeper Chris Smith has not given up hope of avoiding relegation - or preventing Bernardo Dominguez Fernandez taking his place.

"We love it in the SPL and will not give it up without a fight," Smith told his club website.

Spaniard Fernandez, 32, has now arrived at East End Park after signing until the end of the season.

"I look forward to working with him. It will be good to have a new challenge," said Smith.

"He will be pushing me all the way.

"I have been working with him for a few days and he will do very well."

Smith had been left as Dunfermline's only fit senior goalkeeper after Iain Turner, who had arrived on loan as cover for long-term injury victim Paul Gallacher, had to return to Preston after suffering a back problem.

So manager Jim Jefferies, who replaced Jim McIntyre as manager last month, has turned to Fernandez, who was a free agent after leaving Spanish second division club Huesca in January.

But the present incumbent is determined to hold on to his starting place and claw back the seven-point gap established by Hibernian at the foot of the Scottish Premier League.

"We just need to put in the same application and effort and you never know what could happen," he said, referring to Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Hearts.

"We still have to play Hibs and there will be five hard games post split.

"Tossing the towel in now is not in the boys' make up, we just need to keep plugging away and working hard.

"Every game is a cup final. If a few breaks go our way, you never know what can happen.

"Our aim is to get as many points as we can on the board.

"We need to look at our own game - we had an opportunity in the game against Hearts but did not take it and lost 2-1.

"Hearts are a good side, they got a couple of chances and punished us."

Jefferies realises that he has to consider rebuilding to stay in Division One but hopes the return of midfielder Nick Phinn, who has only played once this season through injury, can help the side escape the drop.

"There's 15 points to play for," the manager told BBC Scotland. "Hibs are in a great position, but you know what football's like - it can just turn on one game and suddenly there's a bit more pressure added.

"We've just got to keep believing and make sure the players do that.

"I've come in at a difficult time with eight games left and we have to make sure we do enough to at least make a fight of it."

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