Four points behind tomorrow's opposition but with a game in hand (away to Brechin on Tuesday) Dunfermline have a chance to win a top 4 place that seemed to be slipping away following a 2 month wait for a League victory. Visitors Morton have not won in 3 games but came close to defeating in-form Livingston in midweek. Morton have won 3 of the 4 League and Cup games against the Pars this season, with the other game ending in a draw. Both teams are rated just above even money to win the game, with a draw also fancied at around 9/4.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: MORTON
Last 6 League results:
Morton go into tomorrow's game holding onto the fourth and last promotion play-off place, the same position they achieved in the Championship last season. A 5 game period from late January into February saw them achieve 4 wins and a draw but their 3 games since have been less productive, with 1 point from 9. They were denied a win at Livingston in midweek when, leading 1-0 after an 88th minute Gary Oliver goal, they conceded an injury-time equaliser against a Livi team who had been reduced to 10 men after Shaun Byrne's sending off.
Two key features of Morton's season have been their away form and their defensive record. They have the second best away record in the Championship - better than leaders St Mirren, who they trail by 18 points in the table. They also have the joint best defensive record having conceded 28 goals in their 28 games.
All but one of the previous games between Dunfermline and Morton this season have featured late Morton winners. The first meeting, at Cappielow in September, saw Dunfermline lead 2-0 at half time but lose 3-2, the winner coming in the final minute through Jai Quitongo. The next game, at EEP in November, ended 1-1, both goals scored in the first half. In January, the teams met again in the Scottish Cup, with Quitongo scoring the winner for Morton with 5 minutes remaining. It was then back to Cappielow for the next League fixture between the clubs last month, and once again Dunfermline took the lead but lost the game, Gary Oliver scoring in the 90th minute to give Morton a 2-1 victory.
Time for a late Pars winner tomorrow!
Last 6 League results:
Tuesday night's win over Inverness has given Dunfermline renewed hope of achieving a top 4 finish, perfectly setting up tomorrow's game against the team directly above us. The Inverness win could be the most significant win of the season, a much-needed victory at exactly the right time. It will hopefully act as a platform to an even greater win tomorrow and give everyone associated with the club a further boost.
Allan Johnston brought Kallum Higginbotham back into the team on Tuesday which saw the welcome return of a functioning right wing combination between the winger and right back Ryan Williamson. Those 2 players have most goals assists this season in the Pars squad (Higgy with 13, Williamson with 8) and much of our good early season form was down to their creativity down the right side.
For tomorrow's game I would name an unchanged line-up, retaining Lewis Martin at left back despite Jason Talbot being available again after suspension. Martin had a very impressive game against Inverness and should keep his place. With Jean Yves M'Voto and Joe Cardle missing through injury, joining longer-term injury absentees Sean Murdoch, Michael Paton and Aaron Splaine, there is no need to change the team.
This will be the first Saturday League game at EEP since mid January, and after the lower than average attendance against Inverness, hopefully a larger and noisier crowd will attend tomorrow to back the team towards a first victory over Morton this season and to witness the push towards a play-off place.
Match report/opinion will be posted tomorrow evening.