DECLAN MCMANUS has no doubt his Pars pals will be fired up for Falkirk but has warned his former club will be stern opposition.

The 26-year-old striker, who agreed a two-year deal to return to East End in July having left for Ross County in 2018, is looking forward to the Betfred Cup tie with their rivals from across the Forth tomorrow (Friday) night.

The League One Bairns, who were awarded a 3-0 win for their opening tie with Kilmarnock after the Ayrshire side were unable to field a team due to positive COVID-19 tests within the club, travel to East End to renew hostilities with Dunfermline for the first time in 18 months.

While it’s always an encounter eagerly anticipated on the terraces, McManus is particularly looking forward to it having spent last season on loan at the Falkirk Stadium.

Despite declaring their interest in signing him permanently, he chose to return to Dunfermline after leaving County and, along with Kevin O’Hara and Paul Watson, is one of three ex-Bairns in Stevie Crawford’s squad.

McManus experienced disappointment last season as, sitting second and one point behind Raith Rovers, Falkirk missed out on promotion to the Kirkcaldy club after the campaign was decided on a points-per-game average.

Speaking to Press Sport after appearing from the bench in Tuesday’s Betfred Cup win at Dumbarton, McManus admitted it adds additional spice to an already tasty fixture but he expects a tough match.

“I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, it’s a wee bit added to it for me having played with the Falkirk boys last year but it’s just another game, and it’s a big game at that,” he commented.

“It’s going to be a tough test; they’ve got a good team and play good football. It’s a lot of the same team that I played with last year so I know them well, and they know me well, but anything can happen on the day. I’m looking forward to coming up against them.

“Being a part of that at the time, it was horrible because we ourselves thought we we were going to go on and win it, and I think a lot of other people did as well. It’s unprecedented times and there’s nothing we could’ve done about it – it was taken out of our hands.

“As I’ve said to the boys in the Dunfermline dressing room, it’s not going to be an easy game and, especially for the Falkirk guys, it’s an added bit for them that they’re coming up against a Championship team. They’ll want to show they’re the same quality.

“We’ll work on it in the next couple of days and there’s an added wee bit of spice to these games. There always has been in the ones I’ve played in and I hope on Friday it’ll be no different on the park.

“Obviously, the fans aren’t there for the atmosphere, but I’m sure the two teams will make an atmosphere for themselves in terms of getting fired up for a derby.”

Reflecting on his second competitive debut in a Pars shirt, McManus added: “It’s nice to get my first competitive win.

“It’s a tough place to come at the best of times; sometimes the pitch can be a bit boggy, although the pitch was decent tonight right enough, but it wasn’t the most beautiful of nights in terms of the weather.

“The boys dealt with it well. It wasn’t going to be beautiful football straightaway so the most important thing for us was coming and getting the three points and starting off with a win going in to another big game on Friday.

“I missed a couple of games over the pre-season with a wee hamstring strain so in terms of that, I probably haven’t had the minutes that the rest of the boys have had, but it was good to come on.

“It’s a different feel when it’s a competitive game so it was good to come on and play my part.”