Signed in August 2016 after Dunfermline had struggled in front of goal in the opening League games, Nicky Clark has delivered a decent goal return and has been one of the mainstays in this season's team. A natural goalscorer, especially when he has to react instinctively, Clark has 15 goals, more than double the total of the team's second highest scorer - Kallum Higginbotham coming next with 7.
After scoring 4 goals in the opening League game against Dumbarton, Dunfermline scored just once in the following 3 games. August ended with just 1 League goal being scored by a starting 11 striker. New signing Gavin Reilly was that scorer (with what would prove to be his only League goal of the season) but had struggled to impose himself in games. The Moff had scored twice in the season's first game, a League Cup win over Arbroath, but then went on a run of 7 games without any further goals by the time Allan Johnston decided to bring Nicky Clark to the club.
Clark, who had previously played under Johnston in a very successful period at Queen of the South, where his dad Sandy had also been assistant manager, had been released from Rangers at the end of 2015/16. He signed for Bury but a disagreement over his role in the team - he was being played wide, after being assured he would be played as a striker - led to a mutual termination of his contract. He returned north and signed for the Pars on 31 August, making his debut in a Challenge Cup game at Brechin 3 days later. His first Dunfermline goal came in the 2-1 defeat at Morton on 17 September. The following week, he hit a double in the 4-3 home win over St Mirren.
The team had slumped to second bottom of the division in the opening weeks of the season, but Clark's goals, plus the return from injury of Sean Murdoch, saw a gradual improvement. Clark ended 2017 with 6 goals in 17 Pars games, a ratio he would soon improve in January with 3 more goals. He moved up to 3rd place in the Championship's top scorers list, a position he still occupies. In February he scored 4 goals against Dumbarton at East End Park, the second time in his career that he had scored 4 in a game, having done so for Rangers in a game against Peterhead in 2013. As with many strikers, he had a barren run of games without a goal - the Dumbarton game being the only game he scored in from the end of January to the third week of April. Clark has since scored a goal in each of his last 2 games to bring his season tally to 15.
His goal ratio is an impressive 179 minutes per goal in League games, taking his total minutes on the pitch against his 14 League goals - a better ratio than Falkirk's Lee Miller, Dundee United's Simon Murray and Tony Andreu, amongst others.
Clark is contracted to Dunfermline for next season, and with the benefit of a settled team and a full pre-season at the club, he could realistically break the 20 goal barrier in 2017/18. His career statistics back this up, with 85 goals in 185 starts. His goals have helped Dunfermline retain their place in the Championship this season - next term could see him lead the line in a promotion challenge.