Fifth plays second in tomorrow evening's Championship match at East End Park. Dunfermline go into the game as the division's form team, with 5 consecutive wins, while visitors United have recovered their form and have just 1 loss in their last 7 League games.
Here is the current Championship table:
Dunfermline team news, selection & preferred lineup
Without a game since the 1-0 win at Alloa on 9th March, the Pars have slipped out of the top 4 promotion places due to Inverness taking full points from their game in hand, at Partick Thistle on Friday last week. Tomorrow's game is the first of a crucial pair of matches at home this week, with the second coming on Friday's evening's televised game against Ayr United. These games could define our season, with 8 games remaining. The turnaround in our prospects has been a credit to Stevie Crawford, his coaching team and of course the players, from the depths of seventh place and only a few points off the bottom of the table, to challenging for a promotion play-off place, in the space of a handful of matches.
Clean sheets and a strong team ethic have been key to our positive run of results. With no goals conceded during the current 5 game winning run, the football hasn't always been free flowing but the determination of the team to grind out each result has been commendable. Players such as Danny Devine have emerged as leaders and have typified the spirit in the squad. Results are all that matter - there is no league table for having played well - and if we can come out of the next 2 games with 4 or 6 points then we will have put ourselves in a tremendous position for the final half dozen matches. The game against Ayr on Friday is arguably more vital to our top 4 hopes, as we have a far greater chance of overtaking Ayr and finishing third or fourth than making up the points difference over second placed Dundee United. However, momentum has been a big factor in our recent good run, and a win over United tomorrow would be a huge boost and give the team even more belief.
I have once again selected the same line up the I suggested for both the last League game we played, and also the postponed game the week after, with James Vincent returning to the starting 11 to bolster the midfield, at the expense of Kallum Higginbotham. United will be confident going into the game and we will have to be at our best to secure another positive result. We are also long over due a win at East End Park against them, with our last home victory over United coming way back in 2007.
Preferred lineup, in a 4-1-3-1-1 formation:
United have won their past 2 League games and taken over second position in the table from faltering Ayr United. One player who has been key to their recovery has been ex-Pars striker Nicky Clark, who missed much of the middle part of the season through injury. His late winner against Alloa on Saturday was his 12th goal of the season, averaging a goal every 132 minutes of playing time.
Dundee United manager spoke to the media after the win against Alloa, and looked ahead to the game against Dunfermline:
“The lads showed character to keep going. It’s a big ask for the players to go Tuesday, then Saturday and now Tuesday again at East End Park. But this is a huge result as it gives us that chance to get the gap down to two points on Tuesday night.
“We’d like to be in a position so that when we go to Ross County in two weeks' time, we can really turn the screw.”
Match odds (McBookie):
Dundee United 17/10