After 6 League games, the Pars and Partick - who both began the season with Premiership aspirations - occupy eighth and sixth positions in the table, several places behind surprise leaders Ayr United. Thistle can narrow that gap with what would be a first away win (and points) of the season, while Dunfermline look to win a League game for the first time since the opening round of fixtures.
Here is the current Championship table:
Five League games without a win and no victories at home in this season's Championship do not make good reading for Pars boss Allan Johnston, who has seen his team struggle after an encouraging start to the season in the League Cup, which was then followed up with a win at Tannadice in the first League game. Winless since and lack of goals have derailed the Pars season but Johnston will be encouraged by the team's display against Morton last week. Changes to the starting 11 paid off, with midfielder Malaury Martin particularly impressive and Andy Ryan, wasted on the bench for much of this season, scoring his 4th goal of the season, and averaging a goal every 91 minutes this term in his limited time on the pitch. Ryan will hope to celebrate his birthday weekend (he turns 24 on Saturday) with a goal this evening, in a game that is being shown live on BBC Alba.
This is the second of a 3 game period that could be pivotal in Dunfermline's season, and for the manager's future. After the draw at Cappielow, which should have resulted in a win but for a goalkeeping error late in the game, the focus on both this evening's game and next weekend's trip to bottom of the table Falkirk becomes even greater. In terms of tonight, ordinarily a draw against a side just relegated from the Premiership would be an acceptable result, but in the context of Dunfermline's season, we have to start winning, especially at home. What happens tonight will then have a bearing on the significance of next week's game - but for now, we can only concentrate on tonight, under the floodlights and live on television, and secure a first home win of the season in the League.
PARS TEAM, FORMATION ETC
There were encouraging signs at Cappielow last week despite a late Morton equaliser denying the Pars a deserved 3 points. Malaroury Martin, Aidan Connolly and Andy Ryan were brought into the starting 11 and should all retain their places for this evening's game. Ryan Williamson, who missed the Morton game through injury, is fit and could replace James Craigen at right back. Tom Beadling, on the bench last week, is still not match fit but Danny Devine is available again after 3 weeks out of the squad through injury then illness.
I would select the same team as last week, and hope to see a continuation of the passing game that was so effective against Morton.
Here is my preferred Pars line-up:
Relegated from the Premiership after losing to Livingston in the play-off final last season, Thistle retained manager Alan Archibald and began the season as one of the favourites to win the 2018/19 Championship. Strong home form (3 wins from 3 games) but a poor away record (losing all 3 matches) sees Thistle in a mid-table position but only 4 points off the lead, with a chance to enter the top 3 should they win this evening's game. A summer clear-out following that relegation did not include old standbys such as Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine, who will once again be important figures for Archibald's team. Striker Doolan has been with Thistle since 2009, making 358 appearances and scoring 114 goals, while midfielder Erskine, who also joined the club in 2009 but who had a spell with Dundee United in season 2013/14 before returning to Firhill, has made 260 appearances for Thistle, with 53 goals.
Thistle have been frustrated in their bid to bring in former Kilmarnock striker Souleymane Coulibaly from Egyptian club Al Alhy, with the Egyptian FA refusing to grant an international transfer certificate. Coulibaly attempted to break his contract with the Egyptian club and was ordered by FIFA to pay compensation to Al Ahly, which he has not yet done. In the meantime, Thistle are unable to register the player and he has been training with a junior club in Ayrshire to maintain his fitness.