Seventh meets tenth in this weekend's derby at East End Park. Dunfermline can extend the current unbeaten run against Falkirk to a fifth game, while aiming for what would be just a second home win in the Championship this season. Falkirk are rooted to the foot of the table in what has been a dreadful season for the club - long may it continue!
Here is the current Championship table:
There has rarely been a more straightforward win against Falkirk than in the most recent fixture between the teams, when the Pars won 2-0 at the home of our rivals last month. That game was followed by 2 defeats and a draw before last week's win at Alloa. This uneven sequence is why the team are still in the wrong half of the table, in 7th place; only 4 points off the top 4 but having scored the least number of goals, and with the worst goal difference, of the top 7 teams.
The team have, however, shown promise in the past 2 outings - the draw at Inverness and then the previously-mentioned game at Alloa. Goalscoring is still a concern but there is enough ability in the team to see off Falkirk before we have a week off next week due to the scheduled game against Ross County being moved because of the Highlanders' participation in the Irn Bru Cup.
Team, formation, etc
The team that ended the game at Alloa last week - with the exception of Aidan Keena replacing last week's sub striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui - would be my lineup for tomorrow's game. This would see the right wing combination of Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham reunited for a first team start together for the first time in several months - injuries to both players plus Ryzo's involvement with the Scotland Under 21 squad has deprived the team of 2 of its best players, who also combine better than any other duo in the squad.
The rest of the team should stay the same - Keena to start up front, with Faissal coming off the bench. As mentioned in the Wishlist article here, I would like to see AJ utilising his subs as he did last weekend, giving players time to make an impact.
Tom Beadling, Mark Durnan and Louis Longridge are still unavailable through injury.
Preferred starting 11:
Inheriting a shambles from former boss Paul Hartley, Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon has struggled to oversee any improvement in his team's results since taking over. Limited to signing out of contract players, McKinnon has largely had to make do with Hartley's signings, and must be counting down the days until the January transfer window opens. Ex-Hearts midfielder Prince Buaben joined on 1 October, after being without a club since the end of last season.
McKinnon had this to say to local media this week:
"I’m using all my contacts from when I was running courses for the SFA and you come across a lot of coaches and different people. I know Duncan Ferguson at Everton and players are being mentioned to us.
"It’s not just about contacts. It’s about the best quality of young players being available to come to Scotland. A lot of teams in England look at clubs to send their players out to the Championship clubs – Premier League sides can send their best youngster out to Aston Villa for example. They might think of the next level down to League One for some – they can go to Sunderland there. So you need to be very careful of what sort of players are available to come to Scotland. We are working hard between now and January to see what we can source.
“The club made a statement about there being funds there which is great and very supportive and we are appreciative of that. We have just got to make sure that if we can use it that we use it wisely. We need to bring players in that are better than what we’ve got and get the right balance in the team. We are looking at changing the dynamics of the team and that’s what we will work on for the next eight weeks.”
McKinnon added to his squad this week with the signing of former Portsmouth and Partick Thistle rightback Mustapha Dumbaya, although the Falkirk manager stated that the player, given an initial 8 week contract, is still short of match fitness.