The long trip to Dumfries tomorrow will reunite several members of the Pars squad and staff with familiar faces in the home side and dugout. Former Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston and his assistant Sandy Clark, who left East End Park in January, have returned to Queen of the South, where they had a successful spell as management duo earlier in this decade. Johnston likes familiarity and has implemented his well-known signing policy of bringing in players he has worked with in the past: ex-Pars Michael Paton, signed after being released by League 1 Dumbarton, and - today - Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
Dunfermline made another scintillating start to a game last Friday, going 2-0 up on Dundee in the opening fixture of the 2019/20 SPFL Championship before eventually having to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw. In 5 competitive games this season - 4 in the Betfred Cup, 1 in the League - the Pars have scored 13 first half goals, compared to 2 goals in the second half of those games. The ability to hit teams hard straight out of the traps has been successful overall: lesser teams (Albion Rovers and East Kilbride) being unable to respond, but better quality opposition (St Mirren, who at 3-0 down lost 3-2) then Dundee showed that whatever the reasons are for not replicating the first half performances, there is always a danger of being open to an opposition comeback as the game progresses.
No complaints, though - which should be the mantra for our season - allowing this mainly youthful squad a chance to develop without undue pressure. We are seeing a new beginning with an exciting group of players and while there will be bumps in the road, the journey itself will be well worth participating in.
The Pars' line up for tomorrow will almost certainly be along familiar lines: despite Danny Devine, Tom Lang and Josh Edwards being given valuable game time in the midweek friendly against Burntisland Shipyard (report here), the defence should remain unchanged, along with the midfield. Up front, Kyle Turner is available again after missing the Dundee game through a 1 game suspension carried over from his Stranraer days last season. Turner, Andy Ryan and Lewis McCann are all competing for the support striker slot up front with Kevin Nisbet, who has made such an impressive start to his Pars career.