Ninth plays seventh in this week's Championship match at the Indodrill Stadium in Alloa. Dunfermline have found Alloa difficult opponents this season, with a goalless draw in the League fixture at East End Park on 15 September, and a 2-2 draw in the Irn Bru Cup last month, which was followed by Alloa winning the penalty shootout at the end of the 90 minutes to progress to the next round.
Here is the current Championship table:
Dunfermline ended October with 1 win from 4 League matches and occupying seventh place in the table. Such is the competitive nature of the division, there is still a closeable gap of 5 points between the Pars and the fourth place that would secure involvement in another promotion play-off come the end of the season. However, the gap between Dunfermline and the teams below (including tomorrow's opponents) is slender and we should expect some improvement in the months ahead from Partick Thistle and Falkirk, currently eighth and tenth.
Aidan Keena's 2 goals at Inverness gave the team a huge boost and the teenage on-loan Hearts striker will lead the Pars attack tomorrow. Goals need to come from other areas however; of our central midfielders, only James Vincent and Joe Thomson have scored this season, and they have just 1 goal apiece. Our top scorers are on 5 goals - Myles Hippolyte, Louis Longridge and Andy Ryan.
Team, formation, etc
Five changes were made to the team that faced Inverness - some through choice and others (Tom Beadling and James Vincent, replaced by Malaury Martin and Joe Thomson) through injury. James Craigen, who had been ineffectual in right midfield against Dundee United last weekend, moved to right back at the expense of Ryan Williamson. While I look forward to the eventual reuniting of the Williamson/Higginbotham right wing combination, I would retain Craigen in defence for the immediate future. The other changes were all largely successful - the biggest success obviously being Aidan Keena, with 2 goals on his first start for the team. Beadling and Vincent are expected to miss tomorrow's game and so I would select the same 11 players to start the match. I would like to see Higgy get some much needed game time from the bench for at least 20 minutes.
Preferred starting 11:
As Dunfermline have experienced in games against Alloa this season, the Wasps are a well-organised side that have made themselves difficult to beat, while lacking the creativity required to win a greater number of games. Being the only part time club in the division, avoiding relegation will be a successful season for Alloa and their manager Jim Goodwin, who completed 100 matches in charge last weekend. Goodwin reflected on his time in charge of the club and his hopes for this season, speaking to local media:
''I'm very lucky to have been given the opportunity 2 years ago. I'm delighted to be here - I'm really enjoying my time here. I've got great backroom staff, great people up the stairs but more importantly I've got a great group of players that are now starting to believe that they are more than capable of competing at this level. People wrote us off before a ball was kicked, expecting us to be detached but the fact of the matter is, we're more than matching the opposition. I can't fault the players' effort - they give me absolutely everything and if they carry on doing that, they'll be fine.
''My ambition is to go full time but I'm not in any hurry - I'm 36 years old and very young when you consider some of the other managers that are out there. I'm loving life at Alloa at the moment. If I'm here for another hundred games then fantastic - it would mean I'm doing something right. It's a great place to be, I've got a great relationship with the chairman - he knows I want to go full time but at the same time this is a great place for me to learn. The longer I'm here, the more I'll learn."