Dunfermline striker Declan McManus says he can be just as good as the likes of Hibs star Kevin Nisbet and Dundee United forward Lawrence Shankland as the Pars get ready for their Championship opener.

The 26-year-old is back in Fife this season after a 24-goal haul for Falkirk in League One last season. He’ll be tasked with helping replace the goals of Nisbet, who joined Hibs in the summer after 23 goals in 32 matches for Stevie Crawford’s men in 2019/20.

Hibernian Squad Head shots 2020/21

Nisbet joined Hibs from Dunfermline. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Both he and Shankland have been Championship success stories in recent seasons, the latter earning Scotland caps for his exploits at Dundee United in that division. McManus reckons he’s got the ability to do similar.

“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,” said McManus. “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.

McManus is back in the Championship. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

“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.

“I know Shankland through my time at Aberdeen. For me, we are all capable of it. I back myself to be as capable as anyone of them. If you can score consistently, you are going to get bigger moves and call-ups for Scotland like Shanks has.

“It’s certainly a personal goal for me that I know I can do that. It’s up to me to show that.”

The boss looks ahead

Meanwhile, East End Park boss Crawford is looking forward to the league opener against Inverness this afternoon. Having started brilliantly in the League Cup with three wins, he’s now looking for strong second tier start.

Big season awaits. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Confidence can play a big factor in how the season is going to pan out,” said Crawford. “I have always said that every game in the Championship has different problems, different tasks, different strengths in teams that you have got to face and adapt to.

“The pleasing thing with the players that we have brought into the club, there is room to manoeuvre and ask players to play in different positions, to play a different type of football at times.

“We have seen wee bits of that in the League Cup campaign. There have been times when we have been under pressure and we have managed to hold out and not concede a goal. That is the sign of a good side but it is still early.

Promising signs. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“We are going to face a very tough game against Inverness, it always is. Robbo has done some work in the summer to add to his squad. I know that he has lost a number of players but I think that he has been shrewd in the transfer market and that will be a really challenging game but one that we are very much looking forward to.

“We will go into it with confidence but also be respectful that Inverness have a good squad that compete at Championship level. It will be a good gauge for us, it is a game that we can win if we apply ourselves right.”

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