The final first team pre-season friendly takes place at EEP this evening with the Premiership's Motherwell providing the opposition. This will give Pars boss Allan Johnston a final chance to see his senior squad in action before the Betfred Cup game against Peterhead next Tuesday sees the start of competitive action. There is one final friendly tomorrow, away to Kelty Hearts, which will feature the Under 20s with perhaps one or two senior players who do not start against Motherwell tonight.
Last season provided a valuable lesson in not reading too much into pre-season results, when after a run of defeats in friendlies, Dunfermline began the League and Cup campaigns with a string of positive results, overturning less than impressive displays in warm-up games. What tonight's friendly will provide is a chance for what is largely a new team to get another game together and give game time to players who have not played in all of the previous friendlies due to injuries that have now healed. This will include Joe Thomson and Aidan Connolly, both of whom played the majority of the Under 20s' 1-0 win at Arbroath on Monday (match report can be read here) plus James Vincent, not included against Arbroath and who has just 1 sub appearance this pre-season since returning to Dunfermline on a new loan deal from Dundee.
Opponents Motherwell reached the finals of the Scottish and League Cups last season and have added 5 new signings to their squad in the current transfer window. They will be captained by Peter Hartley after last term's skipper Carl McHugh requested to be stripped of the captaincy as he felt it was having a negative impact on his performances. Manager Stephen Robinson aims to take the club back into the Premiership top 6 this season, after missing out on a top half finish by 1 point in 2017/18. Robinson talked about expectations for the season ahead this week: “We know we were only a point from the top-six last time, so expectations have risen. Everybody’s perception of what we should do has gone up and we need to find percentages from our play, our preparation and our signings to make sure we achieve that.”