Eighth plays fifth in tomorrow's Championship game at Palmerston, with the Pars still (technically) involved, and in the periphery of, both promotion and relegation play-off positions. Hosts QOS are very much in the group of clubs trying to avoid the bottom 2 places in the division.
Here is the current Championship table; Ayr play Ross County this evening in a game that will be shown live on BBC Scotland:
Dunfermline team news, selection & preferred lineup
The defeat by Falkirk last week extended Dunfermline's winless run to 5 games, during which only a single point has been picked up. Despite this, it is still possible, although highly unlikely, that we can gain fourth position. This would require Inverness to lose their next 2 matches, while we win ours, which would also in turn narrow the goal difference between the clubs. This would set up a final game of the season when Dunfermline travel to Inverness. I feel almost embarrassed even raising the prospect of this, but it cannot yet be ruled out.
A gaggle of mediocrity in the lower half of the division may yet be Dunfermline's salvation, with many teams due to face each other and the chances of more than 4 bypassing us with only 3 games remaining being a doubtful scenario. A win tomorrow would end all fears of that happening, something that should have been confirmed weeks ago. While some have described the Championship as competitive, teams have cancelled each other out with defensive football, a severe lack of quality and games being decided by errors rather than any great football being played. Ross County will win the title with the likes of Declan McManus, Lewis Spence and Kenny Van Der Weg as first team regulars, which says it all.
The team I have selected for tomorrow is decided by several factors, all listed below.
Out injured: Tom Beadling, Joe Thomson
Available but not selected: Danny Devine, Kallum Higginbotham, Ryan Blair, James Vincent, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Myles Hippolyte, Robbie Muirhead.
Comments: Ryan Williamson comes back in at right back, with James Craigen moving into midfield. Mark Durnan replaces Danny Devine in central defence. In centre midfield, losing Beadling and Thomson through injury is a blow but I have dropped Blair and Vincent after their insipid recent displays. Matty Todd moves to central midfield, with Aidan Connolly selected on the right wing. Higgy drops out, a shadow of the player he used to be.
Louis Longridge, fit again, comes in on the left. Lewis McCann scored twice for the reserves in midweek and partners Bruce Anderson up front. Faissal drops out and I have no interest in seeing Hippolyte and Muirhead again.
Time for a shake up! This team has more youth and attacking intent and does not include players who slow us down.
Preferred lineup, in a 4-4-2 formation:
Queen of the South
On the edges of the promotion play-off positions for much of the first half of the season, Queens' form has dropped off in recent months and they have gained just 5 points from their past 12 League games. Now missing 40-goal top scorer and talisman Stephen Dobbie through injury, the main responsibility for scoring goes to Lyndon Dykes, who signed with Livingston in January but was then loaned back to Queens for the remainder of this season as part of the deal. Dykes has 8 goals this season. Josh Todd, a converted midfielder, also played up front in Queens' last game (a 1-0 defeat at Alloa). Todd, who has signed a pre-contract with Dundee, has scored 6 times this season.
Match odds (McBookie):
Queen of the South 17/10