Pars can move up to second with win over Jim Duffy's team
SPFL Championship - Tuesday 21 November 2017 - East End Park - KO 7.45pm
The first of a double header at home over the next 4 days gives Dunfermline a chance to move into second place in the Championship, against a Morton side who have yet to reach the standards they set last season but who remain awkward opponents, as we experienced in the meeting between the clubs at Cappielow in September, when Morton came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to win 3-2.
With Dundee United moving to the top of the division after their 3-0 win over doomed Falkirk, Dunfermline can set up a potential top of the table meeting at Tannadice a week on Saturday if positive results can be gained at home against Morton and Dumbarton this week.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: MORTON
Last 8 League games:
Lats season, Morton finished in fourth place in the Championship and qualified for the promotion play-offs. This season, they have lingered around mid table and after a good start to the season (just 1 defeat in opening 6 games) they now have recorded only 1 win in their last 6 league games. Their statistics this season suggest nothing but mid table; a team who will not be in any danger of relegation but who are unlikely to mount a promotion challenge. Here is how they rank in the Championship form tables:
League position: 6th of 10 teams
Home record: 6th
Away record: 5th
Goals scored: 6th
Goals conceded: 4th
Recent form table: 6th
Morton signed 2 strikers in the summer who are currently their top goalscorers without being prolific - Bob McHugh joined from Falkirk and has 6 goals in all competitions (3 in the League), while Robert Thomson moved to Cappielow from Dumbarton and has scored 4 times. Jai Quitongo, one of their most talented players and who scored the late winner against Dunfermline in September, has returned from injury that caused him to miss several months of last season but has scored just 3 times in 15 games.
Despite the lack of a regular goalscorer, Morton have scored in all of their last 5 away games.
Last 8 League games:
As the figures above show, Dunfermline have had an indifferent run of results in the League in the past few weeks, winning just 1 of the last 5 games. The Pars remain the division's top scorers and also have the joint best defensive record, and will be boosted by 3 of the club's strikers scoring on Saturday in the Scottish Cup win at Queen's Park. The goals from Nicky Clark, Declan McManus and Andy Ryan were the first scored by any Pars striker since Callum Smith's goal against Dundee United on September 30.
Kallum Higginbotham and Declan McManus will miss the game after their red cards in the last League game at Falkirk. Both have to serve 1 match bans. Prior to Saturday, it might have been assumed that Callum Smith would take McManus' place (and he still might) but with Allan Johnston giving Andy Ryan game time at Hampden - and Ryan scoring - while Smith remained an unused sub, Ryan may finally get a chance to start a game. Fraser Aird will probably take Higginbotham's place in right midfield. There are options to include Aaron Splaine but that would require a shift from 4-4-2, which we all know won't happen.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Nicky Clark photo and Jim Duffy edit both by Pars Review.
Match report/option with photos will be posted here around 11.30pm tomorrow evening.