Pars travel to the Rock hoping to build on an encouraging start to the season
SPFL Championship - Saturday 26 August 2017 - Your Radio 103FM Stadium - KO 3.00pm
Dumbarton host the Pars on Saturday with the 2 teams experiencing contrasting form and results. While Dumbarton have yet to win a League game, Allan Johnston's team go into the game full of confidence and seeking a third consecutive win in this season's Championship, which could put them top of the division depending on other results.
The opposition: Dumbarton
The great survivors of the Championship, every season Dumbarton are written off by bookies and others as relegation candidates, yet this is their sixth consecutive season in the second tier. They continue to defy their part time status while so-called bigger clubs have dropped down into League 1 over the past few seasons. Dumbarton's season so far has been disappointing: their Betfred Cup group games resulted in a 3-1 home defeat to League 1 Ayr United, a 2-1 away loss at League 2 Clyde, a 0-0 home draw with Annan, also from League 2, with Annan winning a bonus point in the penalty kick shoot-out, and finally a 3-0 defeat at Kilmarnock.
In their 3 League games so far, Dumbarton have yet to win, with 2 draws and a defeat. In fairness, the 2 draws were against 2 of the teams that made up last season's top 4 - Morton and Falkirk. Their most recent Championship game was last weekend when they lost 1-0 at Queen of the South. Dumbarton's only victory in 8 competitive games this is season came in the Challenge Cup, when they defeated Rangers Under 20s 2-1.
Dumbarton boss Stephen Aitken brought in 13 new players this summer, among them ex-Pars Andy Dowie and Kyle Hutton, plus Mark Stewart, Craig Barr and Chris Johnston from the Wee Team.
Second in the Championship and with victories over Inverness and Falkirk in the past 2 games, the Pars go to the newly-named Your Radio 103FM Stadium tomorrow, in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock, with hope and expectations of another 3 points. Taking lessons from the second half against a 9 man Falkirk last weekend, complacency cannot be allowed to creep in, and it should also be noted that while the team have only lost 1 competitive game this season, they have also not won a game away from home in 4 attempts (not counting the penalty kick bonus point at Tynecastle after the game ended 2-2 in 90 minutes).
The squad is almost fully fit - only Nicky Clark is a doubt, and although he has returned to training, next week's Challenge Cup game at Buckie might seem the more obvious game for his return. I have selected the same starting 11 as last week. Callum Smith retains his place alongside Declan McManus - new signing Andy Ryan's time will come, but I feel that Smith and McManus work better as a partnership at the moment.
Preferred starting 11, based on comments above:
Joe Cardle photo plus Stephen Aitken edit by Pars Review.
Match report/opinion with photos will be posted here around 9.00pm tomorrow evening.