Scottish Championship - Saturday 18/03/17 - KO 3.00pm - East End Park
Odds (Ladbrokes): Dunfermline 3/5; Draw 14/5; Ayr United 19/4
Two teams who have become very familiar to each other over the past 4 seasons meet again at East End Park tomorrow. From season 2013/14, when Dunfermline fell into League 1, the teams have met 18 times in League and Cup games, with Dunfermline winning 13, Ayr 1 and the 4 other games being drawn. Ayr are in the 9th place relegation play-off position, while the Pars would put any lingering relegation fears behind them with a win, and with a game in hand to come.
Our opponents -
Last five outings:
11 March - Championship - Lost 4-1 v Falkirk (H)
4 March - Scottish Cup - Lost 3-1 v Hibs (A)
28 February - Championship - Won 1-0 v Raith Rovers (H)
25 February - Championship - Lost 2-0 v St Mirren (H)
18 February - Championship - Drew 2-2 v Dumbarton (A)
As one of only two part-time clubs in the Championship, Ayr were expected to battle relegation. After losing their first 3 League games, they went on a run of only 1 defeat in 7 games. However, in recent months they have won just 1 game since the third week of October. They currently occupy the relegation play-off place, and have injury problems, with manager Ian McCall claiming up to 8 first team players are either carrying injuries or are ruled out because of injury.
Ayr have drawn their last 7 away matches.
Their only victory in the past 18 League games was the 1-0 win over a Raith Rovers team that had midfielder Ryan Stevenson in goals.
Ayr have scored the lowest number of goals of any team in the Championship (25).
In the dugout
In a playing career that included spells at 10 different clubs, Ian McCall had 2 periods as a Pars player, in season 1986/87 and then in 1990/91. He has had almost as many clubs as a manager (8), and if he remains Ayr boss until the end of this season, will have more games as Ayr manager than at any other club he has managed, with the exception of his first job, at Clydebank.
Pars & Ayr United facts & stats
Head to head record - last 10 meetings:
Pars wins: 7
Ayr United wins: 1
Pars Review match reports from the games between the teams this season:
1 October 2016 - Ayr United 0, Pars 0
3 December 2016 - Pars 1, Ayr United 1
7 January 2017 - Ayr United 0, Pars 2
Three Ayr players have previously played for Dunfermline: goalkeeper Greg Fleming was on loan from Oldham Athletic in season 2009/10 and made 33 appearances. Left back Paddy Boyle was at East End Park for 2 seasons (2011/12 & 2012/13), the second season being spent on loan at Gateshead. He made 23 appearances for the Pars. Farid El Alagui played 16 times, including sub appearances, for Dunfermline this season before rejecting a contract extension in January. As recorded above, Ayr boss Ian McCall had 2 periods as a Pars player.
From the current Pars squad, Andy Geggan had a season at Ayr (2011/12) before joining Dunfermline; David Hutton played 84 times for Ayr between 2013-2015; and Michael Moffat made 148 appearances for Ayr, scoring 65 goals.
Here is the current Championship table:
Last five outings:
11 March - Championship - Drew 0-0 v St Mirren (A)
7 March - Championship - Drew 1-1 v Queen of the South (H)
4 March - Championship - Won 5-1 v Dumbarton (H)
25 February - Championship - Drew 2-2 v Hibs (A)
14 February - Scottish Cup replay - Drew 1-1 v Hamilton (A) (lost on penalties)
Consistency of team selection has seen Dunfermline lose just one game since November. While the current starting 11 would, for many people, be the strongest available, 8 of the past 14 League games have been drawn. At times, more adventurous substitutions could have turned 1 point into 3 against tiring opposition defences. The opposite argument is that the team's rhythm could have been broken, and games could have been lost. It would not be a great surprise to see the same 11 players start the game tomorrow.
Same line-up as in recent weeks.
Preferred starting 11, with squad numbers:
Tomorrow: Game Day image, then later in the evening match report/opinion with photos and Pars player ratings.