It's Fife v Moray in the opening competitive fixture of 2017/18, with Allan Johnston's team looking to improve after a disappointing pre-season
Betfred Cup - Saturday 15 July 2017 - East End Park - KO 3.00pm
Dunfermline's pre-season games have raised more questions than answers, with 11 goals conceded in 3 first team warm-up matches and a completely disjoined display in the final game, a 3-0 defeat in Kirkcaldy on Tuesday evening. The Betfred Cup provides a further 4 games before the League season starts in August, and is almost an extension of the pre-season although with much more at stake.
Elgin City make the 160 mile journey from their far-north base having signed 3 new players on Thursday, all trialists who did enough to impress manager Jim Weir: Cammy Eadie, Ross McKinnon and Stephen Bronsky are all defenders, and join other new signings midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern and striker Calum Ferguson at the club. Weir aims to sign another striker, as he will be without last season's top scorer Shane Sutherland, who is recovering from a cruciate knee injury. Sutherland scored 24 goals in 31 games in his first season at Elgin, joining the club from Peterhead last summer, and will obviously be a big loss for Elgin.
A home win would be a good morale-booster following the series of defeats in pre-season, and while the Pars squad lacks quality and depth in certain areas, the core of the team remains relatively strong, based on last season's form at least. Sean Murdoch, Callum Morris, Nat Wedderburn and Nicky Clark are the spine of the Dunfermline side and are among the players that Allan Johnston will rely on most. Led by Morris, the new club captain, they will be keen to rid themselves of the defensive lapses that helped Raith to score 3 times on Tuesday. Last season, with largely different personnel, the Pars team gave away too many cheap goals in the initial weeks of the campaign, and there can be no repeat of this if the current side are to make any progress.
Saturday is when the players must perform as a team and not a collection of individuals. Slack passing, a reluctance to want the ball from throw-ins, temper tantrums and wasteful play all have to be eliminated.
Expected to miss out: David Hopkirk & Jason Talbot
With the players available, here is my preferred starting 11:
Match report/opinion with photos will be posted here around 9pm tomorrow evening.