Dunfermline travel to Falkirk aiming to break a longstanding winless sequence against a struggling home side
SPFL Championship - Saturday 4 November 2017 - The Falkirk Stadium - KO 3.00pm
Third placed Pars visit a Falkirk side that currently occupy the relegation play-off place at the Falkirk Stadium tomorrow. The venue has not witnessed a Dunfermline victory since 2011, with many of the defeats suffered since coming without much resistance being shown. Falkirk, whose new manager Paul Hartley has yet to oversee a win since being appointed, will look to the game as a way to kickstart what has been a miserable season for them so far. For the Pars, it is a chance to record a significant and confidence-boosting win.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: FALKIRK
2017/18 League record:
LDLL DDLW DDL
After several seasons involved in the promotion play-offs, Falkirk are now in an unexpected play-off position at the wrong end of the table - in ninth place with just 1 League win all season. The poor start to the season cost manager Peter Houston his job. Houston was succeeded on a temporary basis by Alex Smith, who won both his games in charge (at Morton in the Championship and against Dunfermline in the Challenge Cup). Paul Hartley was then appointed as the club's next permanent boss, but has not enjoyed the typical "new manager bounce", with 2 draws and a defeat from his opening 3 games in charge. Last week's loss at Queen of the South was caused mainly by some awful defending and dire goalkeeping, a feature of their season - they have the second worst defensive record in the division. They are also joint lowest goalscorers with just 8 goals in 11 games.
Hartley made his first signing this week when he moved for striker Louis Longridge on loan from Hamilton.
The subject of Dunfermline's poor record at ex-Premiership stadiums has been covered on this site in detail, with tomorrow representing another such away day, at the home of rivals Falkirk. The Pars have not won at Falkirk in the past 6 visits, with the most recent victory coming in March 2011. During that period, Falkirk were usually above the Pars in the Scottish League standings. This weekend, it is the reverse, so there can be no excuses for yet another feeble capitulation. If Dunfermline want to be anything this season, we have to go to Falkirk and win.
After a run of just 1 win in the last 5 games, with no Pars striker having scored in the past 4 games, the team should be refreshed in certain areas for tomorrow's game. The defence requires no changes. In midfield, I would select Dean Shiels ahead of Aaron Splaine. I would also have Joe Cardle back in the starting 11 after his 2 sub appearances after his injury absence. Up front, Declan McManus - unfairly dropped a few weeks ago - should come back in. I have also selected Andy Ryan, who has not been given a chance by Allan Johnston, and who deserves game time to show if he can provide the goals that the other strikers have failed to deliver lately.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Joe Cardle photo and Paul Hartley edit both by Pars Review.
Match report/option with photos will be posted here around 9.00pm tomorrow evening.