Fifth plays seventh in tomorrow's Championship match at East End Park, with Dunfermline in form and having recorded 3 consecutive wins, in contrast to visitors Queen of the South whose midweek defeat at Cappielow was their fifth defeat in a row. The Pars' recent run of positive results has seen the team leapfrog Queens in the league table, with this weekend's match concluding the third quarter of fixtures.
Here is the current Championship table; Morton play Falkirk this evening:
Dunfermline team news, selection & preferred lineup
The turnaround in Dunfermline's results continued on Tuesday with a resounding 3-0 win over Partick Thistle, echoing the resurgence of last season's final dozen games that saw the team gain a promotion play-off place. There is nothing to prevent a similar outcome this season - we are now only 2 points behind fourth placed Inverness and with 10 games remaining have a great chance to complete what would be a remarkable transformation in what was at one point a forgettable season. Credit must go to the new management team - the change in players such as Danny Devine has been one of the biggest plus points to emerge in the past few weeks, while the January arrivals - Bruce Anderson and Ryan Blair, both on loan, plus the signing of goalkeeper Ryan Scully, have all contributed to the team's improvement.
James Vincent and Myles Hippolyte both missed the Partick Thistle game through injury, while Jackson Longridge, withdrawn from the starting lineup minutes before the Ayr United game last weekend, also missed the midweek match. Stevie Crawford confirmed that all 3 players will be given fitness tests in advance of tomorrow's game but definitely missing out is Faissal El Bakhtaoui, whose recovery from a calf injury is taking longer than initially anticipated. We will have to wait a little longer to see the return of the Faissal and Bruce Anderson partnership that looked so promising in the hour they played together, in the game against Ross County last month.
James Vincent's absence saw Kallum Higginbotham start against Partick, with the formation shifting from a midfield diamond to 4-4-1-1, with Higgy in right midfield. The Partick game saw Louis Longridge made his first start since returning from injury, playing behind Bruce Anderson in attack. Vincent may regain his place if fit; if not, I would imagine the same team that started in midweek will be named for tomorrow's game.
Preferred starting 11, based on the players who were injured in midweek not being available:
Queen of the South
After being on the edges of the top 4 for most of the season, Queens have now lost their last 5 League games and have achieved just 3 wins in the Championship since the start of December. They now occupy 7th place, and are in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle during the remaining weeks of the season. Talisman Stephen Dobbie, with 38 goals in all competitions this season, is their obvious threat. Dobbie has averaged a goal every 79 minutes this season, confirming what an outstanding player and goalscorer he is, even in the veteran stage of his career.
Queens manager Gary Naysmith spoke to the media after the loss at Morton on Tuesday:
''We are all hurting. Due to our recent results - not performances, but results - the players are lacking a little bit in confidence.
''It's about us - as a group of players and the management - delivering as a team, making sure that we're organised and trying to get that victory. I'm sure when that victory comes we'll go on a run. At this moment in time, it's not going for us. We've already shown on several occasions that we're capable of beating any team in this league. Confidence is down a little bit but it's up to me as manager to try to pick them up and make sure that they believe that we're going to turn the corner. I believe we will.
''We'll be giving it our all to make sure on Saturday we'll be going home with a smile on our face.''
Match odds (McBookie):
Queen of the South 14/5