SPFL Championship - Saturday 9 December 2017 - East End Park - KO 3.00pm
Pars look for first League win since October, level on points with opponents Queens
With 7 points separating the top 6 teams in the Championship, tomorrow's game between 4th place Dunfermline and 6th place Queen of the South gives both teams a chance to move up the table with a top 4 place in mind. A win would also prevent Dunfermline potentially dropping into the bottom half of the table.
Here is the current Championship table:
THE OPPOSITION: QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
Last 6 League results:
With just 1 defeat in their past 8 League games, Queens travel to Fife with confidence. Their away record is impressive (the third best in the division), undefeated in their last 4 away games. Having failed to score in just 1 of their 8 away games this season, they will clearly not come to sit in.
Their goal threat comes from a familiar source: the veteran pairing of Stephen Dobbie and Derek Lyle. Dobbie has 15 goals this season (9 of which came in Cup games) and Lyle 8. Despite having a combined age of 71, the pair are still dangerous and along with fellow veterans James McFadden and John Rankin, both 34, bring great experience to the Queens team while still delivering on the pitch.
Queens last match was a goalless draw at home to Inverness last Saturday. Manager Gary Naysmith commented after the game that, "this was the type of game that could have been decided by a bit of brilliance or a mistake. I asked the players at half time to make sure it wasn't us who made the mistake and we didn't. Unfortunately we didn't get that bit of brilliance to win the game."
Last 6 League results:
Dunfermline go into tomorrow's game on a disappointing run of just 1 win in past 8 League games, and with no clean sheets in past 6 games. The Pars are in fourth place but the table is becoming increasingly congested; 3 points won or lost tomorrow could see a rise to 3rd or a drop to 6th.
Last week saw a resilient Pars team lose to Dundee United but there were positives to take from the game in terms of attitude and application. What was lacking, and will definitely be required tomorrow, was creativity. The change in formation to 4-1-4-1 was appropriate for the game at Tannadice but a home game against a team in 6th place calls for a more attacking system. This will probably see Lewis Martin drop out and Big Nat move from defensive midfield back into central midfield. Dean Shiels, who was due to start last week before being delayed in traffic, is an option for Allan Johnston but I can only hope that Michael Paton does not miss out, after his good performance last week which saw him named man of the match in my match report.
I would start with Fraser Aird on the right wing in place of a badly out of form Kallum Higginbotham. Up front, Nicky Clark is fit again and after playing 1 up (Declan McManus) last week, Clark should partner McManus in the familiar 4-4-2 formation. Andy Ryan is unavailable having not fully recovered from injury.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Fraser Aird photo and Gary Naysmith edit both by Pars Review.
Match report/option with photos will be posted here around 9.00pm tomorrow evening.