Reece Cole First InterviewFriday, 23rd Jul 2021
“It was literally just trying to pick a team that suited me and when the gaffer called me it was the perfect match.”
Reece Cole’s last taste of Scottish football was with Partick Thistle in March 2020 when Dunfermline were held to a 1-1 draw at Firhill. This week the Londoner had no hesitation in returning to the Scottish Championship, especially when a team mate from his Partick days gave such a big endorsements the club. He told the website:-
“I spoke to Joe Cardle, who used to be here a few years ago and so knows a few of the backroom staff and a few of the players. When I spoke to him he said to get it done as soon as possible. So we did and it’s been all right. The boys have been really welcoming and that’s the main thing.”
Reece was aware of Joe’s self appointed legendary status at Dunfermline but smiled as he suggested that he did not want to make the Kelty Hearts player’s head any bigger.
The style of play, the way that Peter Grant wants his team to play and the ambition of the club coupled with this week’s news of GmbH acquisition of the controlling interest in Dunfermline Athletic was a great attraction for the 23 year old midfielder:-
“You can see that with all the news that’s come out this week - the club is definitely going in the right direction. There’s only one ambition, really, and that’s to get the club back into the Premiership. When I’ve spoken to the boys, everyone’s got their own personal goals, but as a team we all want to get the club back into the Premiership and get that promotion.”
It seems to Reece that Dunfermline is a good place to be both on and off the pitch at the moment. Resounding victories over Partick Thistle and Dumbarton based on an attractive attacking style have created a really good vibe around the place.
“Since I first came in everyone has been spot on. It’s a really friendly club, which is what you want as a player - especially after a seven and a half hour drive up on Wednesday!”
Reece’s 25 matches during his seven months at Partick had given him a big insight into Scottish football and especially the Championship. He knows what to expect of the weather here and he felt that he was playing his best football when he was at Partick. Now Reece hopes he can just go from strength to strength at Dunfermline. He was no little doubt as to why things worked out for him in Scotland:-
“Just getting the game-time, a consistent run of games, was good for me. It was what I needed. I was 21 when I first came up and I just needed that run of games in men’s football. The desire to get the three points on a Saturday is what I learned the most. It was really good.
“I feel like there was always going to be another opportunity to come back up to Scotland, and I’m pleased it’s here. The way the team plays suits me, so hopefully we can make it a really good memory.”
Dunfermline fans memory of Reece Cole is the free-kick that he scored against them in November 2019. More of the same in a Pars shirt would be very welcome:-
“Hopefully I can try to get one on Saturday, but the main thing is just to get the wins on the weekend. Hopefully a few free-kicks and goals and assists will come with that, but if they don’t then we need to make sure we’re getting those three points.”
It is already noticeable that Peter Grant’s style will be to create a very attacking team and Reece is keen to be part of it. He continued:-
“It all about trying to get on the ball, trying to create things, split passes, just mixing everything up. I will be trying to show my qualities on set-pieces, whether that’s corners or free-kicks - anything to help out the team.
“I’ve had a lot of good conversations with the manager, on the phone and after training, and learning as much as I can off everyone - even Whitts and Shieldsy; they’ve all played a very good level of football.
“It’s just about getting bits and pieces off everyone and adding it to my game, and just learning every day. I just can wait to get started, to be honest.”
Reece has come through the youth system at Brentford but while the club has moved to a new stadium and managed to reach the Premiership, Reece did not manage to mirror that success there and was released at the end of the 2019-2020 season having made just one senior appearance:-
“Brentford have gone from strength to strength since I left them and even before I was there, I joined them as a League One club and then they got promoted to the Championship.
You can see what they’re doing at the club now - a new stadium and buying players for £13.5 million. It’s impressive stuff and hopefully they do well in the Prem next year.”
After a year with Queens Park Rangers U23s Reece had options down south but after he had spoken to Peter Grant he knew he wanted to come to East End Park:-
“When I spoke to the gaffer and heard the way he wanted to play it fitted in perfectly with how I want to play. So, it was a no-brainer to come back up here. I enjoyed Scotland when I was up here the last time, so it was literally about just trying to get it done as quickly as possible.
“QPR was good. It was good to be in training every day but 23s football is nothing like mens football. The games are, not meaningless, but there’s no real desire to get the win. If it’s a 0-0 towards the last 10 minutes it’s pretty safe football. I don’t really like playing that way, I like all or nothing, really. So, it was literally just trying to pick a team that suited me and when the gaffer called me it was the perfect match.”
So Reece joins a Dunfermline squad that is genuinely relishing the challenge of chasing promotion:-
“All the boys are looking forward to it and can’t wait to get the season started. Promotion has got to be our number one target. This club, with the infrastructure that it’s got behind it and everything that’s going on behind the scenes, should be in the Premiership, so that’s what we’ve got to aim for.”
Reece Cole speaks to ParsTV’s Jordan Burt
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