SPFL Championship - Saturday 03/02/18 - Cappielow Park - KO 3.00pm
Pars aim for first win over Morton this season as battle for top 4 places increases
After losing 5 times in succession to tomorrow's opponents Morton between September 2014 to September 2016, Dunfermline then defeated the Greenock side 3 times in the Championship last season. The pendulum has swung back Morton's way this season, with 3 wins out of 3 League and Cup games against Allan Johnston's team. With 3 points vital to both teams in the quest for an end of season promotion play off place, tomorrow's game should have a good competitive edge.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: MORTON
Last 6 League results:
After securing a promotion play off place last season, Morton have been on the edges of this season's promotion battle. Currently in sixth place, they have the chance tomorrow to move into the fourth place position currently occupied by Dunfermline, although that will also depend on fifth place Queen of the South's result at St Mirren. Morton boss Jim Duffy signed 3 players in the January transfer window - defender Luca Gasparotto's loan deal from Falkirk was made permanent; midfielder Frank Ross joined on loan from Aberdeen; and goalkeeper Conor Brennan from Ballymena United.
After defeating Dunfermline in the Scottish Cup game at EEP 2 weeks ago, Morton went onto record an excellent 3-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice last Saturday. Jim Duffy was understandably delighted with his team, commenting that "Saturday was one of those days when every player played very close to their maximum. Every department was very strong."
Last 6 League results:
Dunfermline could line up with a whole new midfield tomorrow depending on how many of the January recruits that Allan Johnston feels are ready for a first team start, and who they should replace. Midfield has been an area of the team that required fresh players, and the manager has addressed that by signing James Vincent from Dundee, and loan signings Tom Beadling and Daniel Armstrong. Those players join fellow midfielder James Craigen who signed earlier in the transfer window and who could make his first Pars start tomorrow after coming off the bench in his first 2 games.
Joe Cardle is free from suspension and apart from Sean Murdoch and Aaron Splaine there are no further injuries. Callum Smith has been loaned to Alloa but the manager will still have more choices available to him, with Scott Lochhead and Conner Duthie also available, recalled from their loan spell at Forfar.
It would be unwise to make wholesale changes to the team but I would like to see a 4-1-3-2 formation featuring Big Nat in defensive midfield, with Craigen and Vincent starting alongside Cardle in the midfield 3. The defence and attack are likely to be the same as last week.
If the team can repeat the first half performance from the last visit to Cappielow, when they went into the break 2-0 ahead, and eliminate the errors from the second half, eventually losing 3-2, then 3 points are achievable.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Joe Cardle photo and Jim Duffy edit both by Pars Review.
Edits by Ben Crawford.
Match report/option with photos will be posted here around 9.00pm tomorrow evening.