The Championship's bottom 2 teams go head to head at Firhill tomorrow with both Dunfermline and Partick Thistle looking for a first League win of the season, the only clubs in the division without a victory so far. Partick, who sacked manager Gary Caldwell on Wednesday, go into the game with a temporary management team of Gerry Britton, youth coach Scott Allison and veteran striker Kenny Miller. Britton, who in addition to being an ex-Partick player is also an ex-Par, is currently the Chief Executive at the Glasgow club.
Here is the current Championship table. All this weekend's games in the division are scheduled for a 3pm Saturday kick-off.
There was precious little for Dunfermline fans to get excited about in last weekend's defeat to Inverness but manager Stevie Crawford has, understandably, attempted to draw some positives from the game, while admitting that his players have to pose a far greater attacking threat. Defensively, the Pars team were more solid than in previous weeks, with left back Lewis Martin switching to the central defensive role that he filled for most of the earlier years of his career at East End Park. This was partly due to injuries to other defenders (Euan Murray and Tom Lang) and lack of form of others (Danny Devine and Stuart Morrison). Martin is the fifth player to partner Lee Ashcroft in the middle of the backline this season. Martin played the final 13 minutes of the game against Inverness at left back after an injury to Josh Edward. Substitute Danny Devine then conceded an 87th minute penalty for what proved to be the game's only goal.
With injuries now impacting more each week, the manager has to find the best defensive formula, hoping that Edwards will be fit to play tomorrow so that the same back four who started against Dundee United can line up at Firhill. Goalkeeper Cammy Gill seems set for a prolonged first team run for the first time in his Pars career.
In midfield, Ryan Dow's fitness is still in doubt, along with Hearts loanee Anthony McDonald and longer term absentee Joe Thomson. Whether Tom Beadling continues in the right midfield role he was given last weekend is for the manager to decide but there must surely be a first start for the other Hearts loan signing, Harry Cochrane, who came off the bench last week for the second consecutive game.
In attack, I would still like to see Lewis McCann partner Kevin Nisbet but the young attacker has been played wide left, as a left sided attacker rather than a traditional winger. There are options up front, depending on the formation chosen. Greg Kiltie, who played alongside Nisbet last week, can also play out wide or behind the main striker.
While we would all prefer to see a more attacking performance, Stevie Crawford has also shown in times of poor form and results that he is prepared to be pragmatic and to have his team grind out a draw or a narrow win with a more defensive set up. This was a feature of the five game winning sequence last season and we may see that approach resurface this weekend. Last season, with a fragmented squad, it was a case of needs must. There can be no doubting the attitude of this season's players, but they are displaying all the signs of a group who lack confidence. A positive result tomorrow would inject some much needed belief back into the squad. This is where we are at the moment.