Weather-permitting, this game will give Brechin a 26th chance at recording a first League win of the season, while the Pars will aim for a first win in February. Dunfermline go into the game as heavy favourites (4/11 with most bookmakers, while Brechin are 13/2) but will know that Brechin can be a tough team to break down - as was the case at Paisley on Saturday when they lost 1-0 through an unfortunate own goal against leaders St Mirren.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: BRECHIN CITY
Last 6 League results:
No wins all season, 4 draws and 21 defeats - it's been a hard, long slog of a season for Brechin, after they were promoted to the Championship through the League 1 play-offs last season, after finishing fourth in their division. Despite only having 4 points, 12 of their defeats have been by one goal, including Saturday's 1-0 loss at leaders St Mirren, when the game's only goal came from a free kick from Saints' Kyle Maggenis that hit the bar and rebounded in off the head of Brechin keeper Patrick O'Neil. Brechin then hit the post with a 22 yard shot from Liam Watt. Such is your luck at the bottom of the league.
Their 4 draws have all been at home, 3 of which were against current top 4 sides Dundee United, Livingston and Morton. Another stat that would normally have seen more points gathered is that they have scored in 75% of their away games - but lost them all. They have yet to keep a clean sheet in any League game this season.
With cold weather and snow forecast, today's game may not go ahead. Brechin's website contained the following message on Monday night:
"Given predicted downturn in weather conditions, concerns do exist over the match going ahead. The word from inside The Club is that the playing surface was entirely playable during the Monday prior to the game, so everything will depend upon the overnight conditions and weather events during the course of Tuesday."
Last 6 League results:
It's been well-recorded that Dunfermline's only victories since October have come against the division's bottom 3 sides, which includes a 2-1 home win against Brechin on 23 December. Defeat this evening is unthinkable, as it would bring with it the stigma of being Brechin's first victims this season, and make achieving a top 4 place an even harder task. Brechin will no doubt set themselves up to frustrate and test a Pars side that have only scored 2 goals in the last 5 League games.
The introdution of a new midfield trio has given Dunfermline more athleticism in the middle of the pitch and while James Craigen, Tom Beadling and James Vincent are settling in well, the team have yet to achieve a win since they made their debuts earlier this month. For tonight's game, I would change the formation slightly and retain the 3 players mentioned, but with Beadling in a defensive midfield role and Joe Cardle brought back into the starting 11 to provide more creativity. We need a player to be a creative spark and Cardle is an obvious candidate. There is no natural right winger from the trio of players mentioned, and Beadling has been playing a more defensive role in the midfield 3 in any case. I would play Beadling behind a 3 man midfield of Craigen (right), Vincent (centre) and Cardle (left). Vincent and Craigen can interchange if required. I would abandon the experiment of playing Nicky Clark behind a front 2, and put Clark back up front alongside Declan McManus, meaning Andy Ryan (a player I have long wanted to see in the team) returning to the bench after making little impression in the 2 games he started this month.
Preferred line-up, based on comments above:
Match report will be posted on Wednesday morning.