DAN PYBUS says that Pars fans have had every right to vent their frustrations over the team’s slow start to the league campaign.

And the 23-year-old midfielder insists that he and his team-mates have “got to accept it” and perform – even if he would sacrifice pretty football for an ugly three points this weekend.

Former Queen of the South midfielder Pybus found himself substituted during Dunfermline’s last outing, the 3-0 home defeat to Arbroath, with Peter Grant’s men two goals behind.

The ex-Sunderland youth had no qualms about his manager changing things up to try to get back into the match, and said his Pars pals couldn't afford to dwell on what has already gone before this season.

And he has offered a rallying cry ahead of today's meeting with their managerless hosts - David Hopkin departed on Thursday, leaving the vastly experienced Jim Duffy in charge - by noting that "there's still 99 points to play for".

“Obviously, it was a tactical change, which I’m totally fine with,” Pybus explained of his substitution against Arbroath.

“The team was 2-0 down and I could’ve played better myself. I understand that. I could’ve done some things better but I’m a team player. I’ll always work hard for the team and, if someone else needs to go on to create more chances, or try and get a goal, so be it. I’m not going to dwell on it.

“We can’t afford players to dwell at the minute.

“Obviously, the fans have got a right to boo and jeer when we’re not performing and when we’re conceding three goals at home. It’s not good enough and I’m sure as players, if they were up in the stand watching it, they’d be doing the same.

“We’ve got to accept it and go and perform at the end of the day. It’s a performance industry and it’s got to happen on Saturday now.

“To be fair, I think the performance could go out the window on Saturday as long as those three points come home with Dunfermline.

"We are only three games in, so there's still 99 points to play for. We need to start this weekend by putting three more on the board and really kick-starting the season from now.

"Everyone knows the start hasn't been good enough; all the players know that individually, and collectively as a team, and we all want to put it right starting at the weekend."

The opportunity to potentially earn a confidence-boosting win at League Two Elgin City at the weekend was dashed when the Pars were forced to forfeit the tie, with the club being hit by COVID-19, illness and injury issues.

It has impacted on preparations for this Saturday’s trip to Ayr United, as Pybus continued: “Last week, going into the Elgin game, the numbers were smaller than probably what the management staff would want with only 14, but you’re still able to work on things. There was maybe not as much 11 v 11 stuff as you’d want but you still get your fitness, lots of the ball, everything like that.

“It’s more difficult with only 14 than it is with 20-plus but now, the last two days, everyone’s back healthy and everyone’s ready for Saturday.

“The month of August hasn’t been great for anyone, obviously, with the Raith game getting called off after 15 minutes and Elgin getting cancelled. I think the lads are just looking forward to getting into a routine of playing every week and building some sort of momentum.

“It’s difficult when you’re not winning. I think that’s normal for any player and football club, and we want to change that as quickly as possible.

“Elgin would’ve been a great chance to do that, build a bit of momentum and get some confidence but all the boys are confident.

“We’ve got some good players here so we need to go into Saturday’s game and play the way we do.

"If we compete against a tough, hard-working side, I feel confident we’ll come out on top.

“Sometimes, you can say there’s luck in football, with mistakes and what not, but quality always shines through so it’s a matter of time until it does.”

Meanwhile, the attitude of his players is something Grant would never question but he has urged them to play with freedom in a bid to turn their form around.

And he believes his team must work to get better at digging their pals out of a hole if they make an error during the 90 minutes if they are to find their first league victory of the season this weekend.

Dunfermline head to Somerset chasing a first win in five matches in all competitions, and Grant hasn't had his troubles to seek in recent times.

When asked by Press Sport if the last couple of weeks could have a galvanising effect on his players, he said: “I think we’ve got a group of players that’s a close group of players.

“That’s probably been the galling thing because I know how much they work and I know how much they battle for each other, even on the training ground. I see it day-in, day-out, so sometimes that’s why I’m left scratching my head at the side of the pitch watching what I’m watching at times because I know that’s not what I see during the week.

“I know I’ve got a fantastic group of boys who I really enjoy working with. I see their attitudes on the training pitch so I can never question that from them, and I know what it’s like; you take an extra touch when you’re not playing particularly well, or you don’t think you’re playing well, or you’re not getting the result.

“There’s certain times when you’re playing exceptionally well that you don’t even think about what you’re doing. I think the biggest problem with us is we’re taking care too much in certain aspects.

“I know that sounds crazy; I’m talking about from middle to front. Do we go for that pass or do we turn it down and play safe?

“I think that’s what happens when you’re playing full of that confidence, you go for it anyway. You don’t even think and then, all of a sudden, the wee things are happening for you.

“When you’re not getting the results, or you don’t think you’re playing particularly well, you take that extra touch, you think that little bit more, and sometimes that can be your biggest problem. You have to play with that freedom but it’s easy for me to say that to them.

“As long as I know you’re trying to play with that freedom and if you give the ball away trying to do the right thing, there’s nothing you can do about that.

“But what I do expect then is, when we do that, the next guy to try and win it back as quick as. That’s football. That’s never changed; it never changed when I played, it’s never changed to this day, and it will never change for the next 200 years.

“The pitch is still the same size, the lines are still the same. If you’ve not got the ball, you’ve got to work really hard to get it back, when you’ve got the ball, make it hard for the opposition to play and everybody want the ball.

“It’s easy to say; it’s once you’re across the white line you’ve got to put that into practice. I know I’ve got the players that’s more than capable. You know that yourself, you’ve seen them, and we’ve just not put that into practice yet within the league performances.

“That’s what we’ve got try and do, put the early cup performances into league performances. If we can do that, I’ll be more than happy.”