Dunfermline go into the Fife derby facing an on-form home side who are already top of the Championship after 2 games. Rovers reached the play-off semi final last season and have begun this season showing they aim to upset the bookies' odds which placed them sixth in pre-season title winning odds. Stark's Park will host its first Rovers/Pars game since 2013 and after the narrow defeat at Easter Road last week, Dunfermline will face another side who are expected to provide some of the strongest opposition this season.
Rovers appointed Gary Locke (pictured, left) as manager this summer, after previous boss Ray McKinnon took up the offer of the Dundee United job. Early season games in the Betfred League Cup were mixed - 2 one-goal victories over lower-league Montrose and non-league Cove Rangers and a draw (winning the penalty shoot-out extra point) at Ross County were followed by a home defeat to Alloa which saw Rovers eliminated from the competition. Form in the League has been better - a 2-0 opening day win at Ayr, with goals by Ross Callachan and Ross Matthews was followed by a 3-1 home win over St Mirren last weekend. Declan McManus, Rovers' greatest goal threat, scored twice, with Callachan also scoring to add to his goal at Ayr.
Rovers brought in 11 new players this summer - the most additions of any club in the Championship. These included the previously mentioned McManus, plus former Hearts hero Rudi Skacel, and the ex-Kilmarnock pair of Chris Johnston and Kevin McHattie, both of whom worked with Locke during his spell as Killie manager.
The disappointing nature of the Pars' 2-1 defeat last week - both Hibs goals were preventable - means this week's game takes on greater importance in terms of not losing momentum in early season. The performance at Easter Road was encouraging and if crucial defensive errors can be eliminated then players with creative flair such as Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham (pictured above) can be match winners. Unless there is a late addition to the first team squad, specifically the signing of a new striker, there will be minimal changes to the starting 11 who faced Hibs. Lee Ashcroft is free from suspension and will likely partner Ben Richards-Everton in central defence. The two players missing through injury last week - Sean Murdoch and Nat Wedderburn - are still out. Manager Allan Johnston is unlikely to change the full backs - Ryan Williamson and Lewis Martin both played well against Hibs, although Jason Talbot will be pressing a claim for a place at left back. The midfield, partly due to Wedderburn's absence, almost picks itself, as does the front pairing of Gavin Reilly and the Moff.
Possible Pars team, with squad numbers:
Kallum Higginbotham photo by Pars Review.