The pivotal game of the Betfred Cup group takes place on Sunday at Dens Park with the 2 top ranked teams in the group facing each other. Dundee's ground is the site of many great past games between the clubs, while the last time the teams met, in August 2015 at EEP, saw the Pars defeat Dundee 3-1 in the League Cup second round.
Both Dundee and Dunfermline recorded resounding victories in their opening games in the group, with Dundee defeating Stirling Albion 4-0 and the Pars winning 3-0 against Peterhead. A win for either side would make them favourites to win the group, while a draw would keep the group alive through the final 2 games that follow this one.
Dunfermline's first competitive game of the season ended in what was ultimately a convincing win over Peterhead. Two of the goals in the 3-0 win came in the final few minutes but the Pars were the stronger team throughout and there were encouraging signs of what is largely a new team beginning to gel. Eight Pars players made their competitive debuts for the club against Peterhead - Jackson Longridge, Danny Devine, Mark Durnan, Joe Thomson, Louis Longridge, Myles Hippolyte plus subs Aidan Connolly and Lewis McCann. The team has been almost completely overhauled since the end of last season and many of the new signings look to be upgrades on the players they have replaced. It was good to see Myles Hippolyte and Louis Longridge - players who have played most of their career games as wide attackers as opposed to playing through the middle - do so well up front and look like natural strikers. I felt before the game that even with the signing of Faissal El Bakhtaoui that we still needed one more "actual" striker but the performance of the 2 players mentioned above has suggested otherwise.
Earlier this week, I was asked by Dundee fansite The Dark Blues (link: here) to answer some questions for their match preview of Sunday's game. Their article, together with my answers, can be read here. They can also be followed on Twitter at this link: .twitter.com/UWTB1893
To conclude this match preview, I asked the Dundee guys for a summary of their pre-season and their thoughts on Sunday's game. Here's what they had to say; my thanks to them again for this:
This summer has been quite quiet for Dundee fans. Our new signings are all unknowns and with that, it was hard to get excited until any of us seen them in action.
Jean Mendy looks like he will be a handful upfront but with that, he looks a bit lightweight but we will have to wait until we see him up against some big bruisers to see how he can handle himself. My initial thoughts were that he reminded me of Faissal El Bakhtaoui but he looks a bit more comfortable in front of goal for us, something El Bak lacked with us. Midfielder Elton N’Gwatala will be a handful all over the pitch for most teams and Jack Hamilton will be an important signing for us.
Defender Nathan Ralph and midfielder Karl Madianga done well against Stirling but I’ll have to see more of them two as I wasn’t sold on them.
I’m expecting a tough game against Dunfermline who will be coming to Dens looking for the win. We haven’t won in our last six meetings which stretch all the way back to 2010 so a win is long overdue. Myles Hippolyte is a player I think we have to be wary of. There are a few ex Dundee United players in your squad so one of them will be odds on to score against us. I’ll go for a tight 2-1 victory for Dundee.