The final game of the Pars Betfred League Cup group takes place tomorrow at Tannadice with 3 teams still able to win the group or qualify as one of the 4 best placed second teams and advance to the next round. There are several possible outcomes which are listed in detail at this link: splstats.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/league-cup-group-stage/ (see Group C). A win for either United or the Pars would still require Inverness to take less than 3 points against Arbroath in order to finish top of the group.
Dundee United have reason to be optimistic for the first time in at least 2 full seasons, a period that saw a disastrous policy of selling their best players to their closest rivals and the appointment of managers who were unable to bring success to the club. New boss Ray McKinnon has been able to clear out much of the deadwood left by previous managers Jackie McNamara and Mixu Paatelainen. Eight new signings have been made during the summer including a fourth spell at the club for midfielder Willo Flood, plus Stewart Murdoch, Cammy Bell and Lewis Toshney from the Wee Team, McKinnon's last club as boss, a player he managed last season and had targeted upon his arrival in Dundee. The team are 5/2 second favourites, behind Hibs, to win the Championship this season, according to SkyBet. Dunfermline are rated fifth favourites at 12/1.
The Pars go into the game with several first team players missing, although the availability of one or two of these players has not been confirmed: Sean Murdoch, Callum Fordyce, Michael Paton, David Hopkirk and Gavin Reilly are all either injured or not fully fit enough to begin the game. Nat Wedderburn (pictured, right), who was ill and missed the midweek game against Inverness, should return, but the biggest loss will be suspended captain Andy Geggan.
There couldn't be a bigger player to have missing for this game and while Dunfermline will go into the game hoping to record another famous victory at Tannadice to match the legends of 1996 and 2005, the lack of options in what is a small first team squad and the loss of Geggan could prove significant. However, the team still have leaders such as Lee Ashcroft, and the maverick ability of Kallum Higginbotham (pictured, right). Lewis Martin could replace Ryan Williamson to provide greater defensive cover. Based on the players who are likely to be unavailable, here is a possible Pars line-up for the game: