João Baldé eyeing East Fife form resurgence after Hibs loanee allays burnout fears

Hibs midfielder João Baldé is looking forward to getting back to his best for loan side East Fife after admitting disappointment with his recent form.

The 21-year-old headed to Methil on a temporary basis, combining matches for the Fifers with appearances for the Easter Road side’s development team, and has so far made 12 appearances in the fourth tier.

The Portuguese-born midfielder was at the heart of East Fife’s impressive showing at New Dundas Park on Saturday as Greig McDonald’s side overcame the loss of an early goal to rack up a 4-1 victory and go third in League Two. Baldé nearly got on the scoresheet in the final five minutes only for his effort to be cleared off the line.

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Speaking to EFTV afterwards, the former Rangers youngster spoke about the match and his recent performance levels – and revealed how an earlier loan spell in Midlothian had given him a bit of an edge.

"I've been here before on loan so I know the Bonnyrigg boys and played against them a few times, and know how they operate,” Baldé said. “I'm familiar with the slope and the grass here too.”

At one point the player was hard at it for six days, combining training and reserve matches with Hibs with training and first-team games for East Fife, leaving him feeling a bit burnt out and unhappy with his performances.

"I felt a bit tired – I like to be on top of my games but sometimes I felt I couldn't keep going as long as I wanted," he admitted. I spoke to Paul [Thomson, interim assistant manager]. They gave me a plan at Hibs as well as one here and that's helped me get back to my best. They look after me at both clubs and I know how my body works so I'm feeling more at it now."

Baldé is expected to start in East Fife’s next game; a familiar tie in the second round of the Scottish Cup as they travel to face league rivals Stenhousemuir, who are level on points and are tucked in behind in fourth place. The New Bayview outfit will be looking to exact some revenge after losing 2-1 in the league at Ochilview last month, finishing the game with ten men.

João Baldé speaks to EFTV after the 4-1 win at Bonnyrigg Rose