Peterhead’s Derek Lyle expects to beat last season’s goal tally as he looks to reap the rewards of a full pre-season.
The 38-year-old striker is in his second campaign with the Blue Toon after joining Jim McInally’s side again last summer.
The former Queen of the South player hit 10 goals last term as the Buchan outfit won the League 2 title, but Lyle didn’t feel he was able to produce his best form after an injury caused him to miss most of pre-season.
The Balmoor attacker felt that hampered his progress and, after completing pre-season this term – during which he has also been training with former club Queens – Lyle is aiming for more goals in the season ahead.
He said: “I’m really happy with my fitness. Queen of the South have been kind enough to let my train with them during the day.
“As Saturday’s game was going on I felt myself getting fitter, which I’ve usually done in games throughout my career.
“But last year an injury meant I didn’t really have a pre-season and I never felt quite up to speed in games.
“I feel I’m in a better position now. If I stay fit I’ll beat what I did last season.
“And I hope the group as a whole will see the benefit of the pre-season work I’ve done on the pitch this season.
“I’ve scored goals at this level and in the Championship throughout my career.
“We won the league last season, but personally it was tough.
“I feel like the fitter I am, the better I’ll be.”
On Saturday Peterhead take on East Fife at Bayview and Lyle, who started last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Falkirk, is expected to have a big role in the fixture.
Captain Rory McAllister is suspended and fellow striker Aidan Smith is also unavailable, which leaves Lyle and Ben Armour as the only two frontmen available to boss McInally.
Lyle added: “This season I’ll be looking to play as much as we can.
“I know I’ll not play every minute of every game, but if I’m putting in the work and training full-time I’ll look to play as much as possible.
“Whether that’s coming off the bench or starting, I want to be up to speed and get as many goals as I can.”
Lyle also believes the Blue Toon should take confidence for the season ahead from the opening day draw with title favourites Falkirk.
He said: “You’re going to be up against it with Falkirk. They’ve signed players who could maybe play Premiership or Championship.
“It was going to be hard for us, but we set up well and competed well and I felt second half we were the better team.
“I felt a draw in the end was probably fair.
“We’ve got to believe in ourselves coming and playing against teams like that.
“We matched a team like Falkirk and we need to believe we can win rather than maybe playing a little bit within ourselves.
“That’s something that will come with more games.”