Fifth plays seventh in what will be a chilly Highland evening, with both teams looking for a win to end recent winless runs. Inverness are specialists at avoiding defeat but have drawn too many games, while Dunfermline need to rediscover the spirit shown in the last League meeting between the sides at the Caledonian Stadium in April.
Here is the current Championship table:
Despite being only 5 points off the promotion pack - largely due to so many teams taking points off each other, pulling the division together with few gaps yet to develop - there is a definite air of despondency in the Pars team and support. The team's form has been uninspiring, while the manager has yet to show any signs of being able to fire up his underperforming squad. Saturday's tepid display in the defeat to Dundee United characterised recent form; there is a fragility within this group of players and a lack of bite, an unwillingness to fight for a result. There is talent - early season games showed that much - but a winning mentality must be developed otherwise this could be a very long, hard season.
Team, formation etc
With the above comments in mind, the team I have selected for this evening's game has a slightly more physical edge to it than recent lineups. The defence almost selects itself, given the lack of options (Mark Durnan and Lewis Martin are injured), but in midfield I was glad to see Tom Beadling complete his first 90 minutes of first team football this season at the weekend, and he will hopefully progress from that and be a big influence on the team. Alongside Beadling, I would reinstate Malaury Martin, who is technically the team's best footballer.
The wings have been a major problem lately, with no player making a decent claim for a sustained run in the team. AJ has stuck with Louis Longridge for too long - we still don't know exactly what his ''best'' position is, so I would move him to the bench for tonight's game. Kallum Higginbotham has had 2 run-outs in reserve games and has had a further week's training since last week's most recent reserve game. I would start him tonight, even though he may not last the full game. We need his skill and aggression back in the team, and also to reunite the right wing partnership with Ryan Williamson. On the left, I would select Myles Hippolyte, partly for his height: we need a mixture of taller players in the team, so I would select Hippolyte and Beadling rather than Joe Thomson and Aidan Connolly; Inverness are a tall, physical side and we need to counter that effectively.
Up front, Faissal should be rested. I have selected Andy Ryan and Aidan Keena - we need a new approach to our goalscoring problems and Keena deserves a chance to show what he can do. Having seen Robbie Muirhead in reserve games, I do not feel he is the answer.
Preferred Pars line-up:
INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE
Undefeated in the past 21 League games stretching back to last season, Inverness have drawn too many games (including their last 5) and although conceding 10 goals less in the League than Dunfermline, have won the same number of games as the Pars this term: 3.
The goalless draw at Alloa on Saturday did not please Inverness boss John Robertson. Always one of Scottish football's most candid managers, Robertson looked back on the game at Alloa and his team's recent form:
"Alloa deserved to win the game. We didn't get going - we didn't pass, we didn't move. We spoke to the players at half time about what we needed - on and off the ball - and while we improved in the second half, it was nowhere near to the level you need to win games.
''It's another draw and in the past we've been disappointed at dropping points, today is a point gained as we didn't deserve anything from that performance. I apologise to the Inverness fans who travelled down because we were nowhere near at it. We put a wee bit of pressure on them at the end but it would have been daylight robbery if we'd come away with all 3 points.
''We need to start winning games. That's 10 games and 7 draws. We need to find a way to unlock defences, whether it's a formation change or a personnel change."