Seventh plays eighth in tomorrow's Championship match at East End Park. Vistors Alloa were relegation favourites before the season began but have reached the halfway point outside the bottom 2, having achived some impressive results including last week's 2-1 win over Dundee United. Dunfermline are determined to have an extended run of positive results - currently unbeaten in 3 - with the aim still being a top 4 place and involvement in the promotion play-offs.
Here is the current Championship table. Leaders Ross County play Morton this evening.
The halfway point in the League season. Only 2 teams have a win ratio over 50%, with draws a common outcome in many games - put that down to healthy competition, or conversely, a lack of real quality, meaning everyone is capable of taking points off each other - the Pars go into the first game of the new year still hoping to achieve promotion despite an ordinary first half of the campaign. There have been encouraging signs over the past month that the team and manager are finding form and a formula that gives hope for the next 17 games. The 4-3-3 formation allows our 3 first choice central midfielders - Tom Beadling, James Vincent and Joe Thomson - to play without being forced out of position, and frees up Kallum Higginbotham to play on the left of a front 3, where his crossing and creativity have led to goals and other unconverted chances in the past couple of games.
The team's work ethic against Falkirk last weekend was pleasing, and if they apply the same high press and determination to control the game as they did last week, they will give themselves an excellent chance to record a first home in over Alloa this season, after 2 draws in League and Cup fixtures at East End Park. The last meeting between the teams ended in a 1-0 win for the Pars in Alloa.
Team, formation etc
The return to the starting 11 of Myles Hippolyte last week brought a goal and a greater physical presence in the middle of the front 3. There's no reason to change the line-up or the formation for tomorrow's game - it's currently our strongest available team.
Preferred starting 11:
Far from ''doing a Brechin'' - the previous part time team to enter the Championship, relegated with weeks remaining and without a win all season - Alloa have worked their way through the first half of the season admirably, with a points total that, if replicated in the second half of the campaign, could see them safe. Manager Jim Goodwin retained the nucleus of the promotion-winning team of 2017/18, including stalwarts Neil Parry, Andy Graham, Kevin Cawley and Iain Flannigan. Hearts striker Dario Zanatta, signed on a 12 month loan deal in the summer, has been impressive, and the return to the club of Jordan Kirkpatrick, signed this week from St Mirren - after enjoying 2 spells at Alloa between 2016 and 2018 - will strengthen Goodwin's squad further.
After last Saturday's win over Dundee United, which extended Alloa's unbeaten run to 4 games, Jim Goodwin had this to say:
"Everybody expected us to be rock bottom of the Championship and I think the only people who believed we were better than that is ourselves. Everybody wrote us off before a ball had been kicked this season and I don't think anybody is writing us off now.
"People are starting to give us the respect we deserve. I've got a group of players in there who a number of the full time teams would be delighted to have. That's full credit to the boys and it's also pleasing that we are where we are playing football in the right manner."
Commenting on the win coming after going a goal behind, Goodwin said:
"It was disappointing to go a goal down, but it is just unbelievable character that the boys have shown. I've lost count of the amount of times they have shown such great heart and determination to come back and rescue a point or secure all three.''