Yesterday at East End Park, Kallum Higginbotham followed Callum Morris in signing a contract to extend his stay at Dunfermline Athletic by another season.
The Englishman will be 28 years of age by the start of the 2017/18 Championship campaign which kicks off on August 5th and will want to keep the momentum rolling as the Pars aim for a top four finish.
Higgy – as he his colloquial known by the supporters – performed to expectations in his debut outing with the Fife outfit. Eight assists (most in the team) and six goals (second to Nicky Clark) was his output; he will need to score a couple more goals next year. This was from playing wide left of the midfield where he looks as though he could be more influential in a central role behind Clark. The reason behind that thought is that he is the most talented footballer that the club has when the ball is at his feet, and he is keen to roam around the final third.
There are a few perceived weaknesses in his game. One is that he can let the red mist descend very easily when he feels the referee is not awarding the calls his team deserves and gets booked; he was yellow carded on 10 occasions in 32 matches. The other being that he wants to carry the offence all too often (see the two missed penalties against Ayr United) which is good in the sense that he does not shy away even when results are not going the team’s way. Yet, it does have the downside that he needs to help bring others into the situation.
Higginbotham is a player that can perform to an adequate level for any side up to the top six in the Premiership. The only problem is that being shunted out wide often stifles his creativity and influence on the game which can draw ire from the fan base. Acquiring him in the first place was a big deal considering how well he had performed for Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle in the Premiership.
His career kicked off in 2007 when he was playing for League Two Rochdale; 15 miles from where he grew up in Salford. After being marginalised at The Dale he moved up north to Falkirk. His performances in the second tier seen League One, Huddersfield Town bring him back to England. It was a hapless spell in Yorkshire – as he barely made an appearance for The Terriers – and was bounced on loan for three seasons until Alan Archibald brought him to Fir Park after impressing for Motherwell at the end of the 2012/13 campaign. In the season before last he played his part in keeping Killie in the top flight before taking the step down to Athletic and a contender for player of the season.
He seems to have finally settled and learned from his prior experiences of staying put when it is going well. However, he is not happy to rest on his laurels and is looking to build on the solid foundations he has helped built on Halbeath Road. Speaking to dafc.co.uk, he said:
“I would like to do better than I did last season, score more goals, more assists and hopefully push us up that league. I do not really set targets for myself, I just take each game as it comes but I realise what I did last year goals-wise and assists-wise and you know what, I definitely want to better that. I do not set targets, I just take each game as it comes.”
It is refreshing to see him strive to want to surpass the already high expectations he has set out. He will be a vital cog in the machine that makes the attack work. His performances in games will be vital if he has aspirations of giving this club a chance of getting into the Premiership this time next year.
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