Scottish Championship - Saturday 15/10/16 - KO 3.00pm - The Falkirk Stadium
Odds (Skybet): Falkirk 5/6; Dunfermline 14/5; Draw 11/4
Dunfermline go into tomorrow's derby against Falkirk with only 1 point away from home in the Championship this season, but also on a 3 game unbeaten run in all competitions. The old theory that form counts for nothing in derby games, where the winner on the day can often be who handles the occasion best regardless of recent results, is something for Pars boss Allan Johnston (pictured below) to take heart from. His team have found life in the Championship hard, with several players who were mainstays of the team now struggling, among them Ben Richards-Everton, a virtual ever-present last season but who has now lost his place and had a calamitous game for the Under 20s in midweek. Captain Andy Geggan has also been a disappointment this season, but such are the lack of choices available in central midfield that he will almost certainly retain his place.
Falkirk narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premiership via the play-offs last season, and currently sit in 3rd place in the division. Only a late St Mirren equaliser in Falkirk's most recent League game prevented a fifth straight League victory for the Bairns, a sequence of results that included wins at Raith Rovers and at home to Dundee United.
Here is the current Championship table:
A win over our biggest rivals would be an ideal way to end the opening round of fixtures in this season's League campaign. The Pars are too close to the relegation place (and play-off position) for comfort and while the manager continually states that the squad is strong enough to still mount a challenge to the top 4, results have not yet backed this up. The game at Falkirk will be another test for the resolve, ability and character of the Pars team, and much will depend on how players such as Joe Cardle (pictured below) perform. This game is a stage that Cardle should thrive in - an ideal platform for him to show what he can do, when on form.
The Dunfermline team line-up will probably not vary much from last week's starting 11 against Queen's Park in the Challenge Cup. Johnston prefers continuity in selection, but even he will be forced to review Gavin Reilly's position in the team, and that could be the only change - Reilly dropping to the subs bench and Farid El Alagui being given his first start of the season. I would also bring Kallum Higginbotham back into the starting line-up but Johnston may prefer Rhys McCabe. John Herron is still injured but the rest of the squad are available, with all other injuries seemingly cleared up.
Preferred Pars line-up, with squad numbers:
Photos by Pars Review.
Tomorrow: Game Day image and full match report/opinion, photos and Pars player ratings.