With the first quarter of League games now complete, here is a review of the first team squad's performances in the opening 9 games. As always in this blog, there are no "favourites" and also no scapegoats: just an objective view, based on seeing every game so far this season.
David Hutton: In the absence of the injured Sean Murdoch, Hutton came into the side for the opening 6 League games (plus Betfred & Irn Bru Cup games) and showed a weakness for losing goals to long range shots and free kicks. He wasn't helped by the poor defensive displays in front of him. Rating: 5/10
Sean Murdoch: A big loss to the side in the opening weeks of the season. His return from injury did not coincide with any dramatic improvement in defensive performances that some fans seemed to believe would happen. Undoubtedly the best option in goals. Rating: 6/10
Lee Ashcroft: Possibly Allan Johnston's best signing. Very mature for someone just turned 23. Would benefit further from having a reliable central defensive partner. Rating: 7/10
Callum Fordyce: After such a long injury lay-off, Fordyce has struggled to get back to first team level form and fitness. A string of errors that led to goals conceded have seen him drop out of the first team squad and become a regular as an overage player in the Under 20s team. Hopefully he get back to being the player he was prior to his injury. Rating: 4.5/10
Lewis Martin: Has played at right back, left back and centre half and is now getting a run in the team in central defence instead of covering for others. Approaching 100 Pars appearances despite being just 20 years old. Steady, reliable player. Rating: 6/10
Ben Richards-Everton: So far, the Championship seems to be a division too far for Big Ben. The warning signs were there in last season's League Cup game at St Mirren when he had a poor game with one particular error leading to the loss of a goal. A recent calamitous display for the Under 20s did his case for a first team return no good. Rating: 5/10
Jason Talbot: A few weeks ago, his first team future seemed uncertain after losing his place in the team after being red carded due to a reckless challenge. For the past month, he has kept his temper under control and played very well, using his experience to good effect. Rating: 6/10
Ryan Williamson: Caught out defensively several times this season, a combination of poor positioning and inability to actually tackle. Still capable of the occasional gallop up the wing but needs to work on his final ball. His position must be under threat. Rating: 5/10
Joe Cardle: The team's most creative player who had an excellent start to the season. The cutting inside trick hasn't been so effective in this division, and he needs to stop the embarrassing dives in the penalty box that have only resulted in him - correctly - being booked. A very talented player who can produce more. Rating: 6.5/10
Andy Geggan: After scoring 4 goals in the early season Betfred Cup, Geggan's form has nose-dived. Booked 6 times already for fairly needless fouls, the captain is partly still in the team due to the lack of options in central midfield. Rating: 5/10
John Herron: Has made just 2 first team starts, after building up his fitness in the Under 20s since signing on-loan from Blackpool, and then being the victim of a bad tackle in his second game. Herron has impressed in the limited time he has had on the pitch and could be a very important player once he recovers from the injury. Rating: 6/10
Kallum Higginbotham: A player with huge talent and a maverick ability to excite the fans, his good early season performances have tailed off and he has more often been used as a sub or as cover for injured players. Ideally suited to a "number 10" role that the manager's strict 4-4-2 formation does not accommodate, Higginbotham has much more to offer than what we are currently seeing. Rating: 5.5/10
Rhys McCabe: The decision to give him a contract despite the release of Josh Falkingham, a player who kept McCabe out of the team last season, has proven to be a mistake, based on McCabe's run of disappointing displays. The manager has put a lot of faith in the player but it has not paid off. Rating: 4/10
Paul McMullan: In contrast to the team's central midfielders, who have featured regularly almost by default, McMullan has been the victim of being one of 4 wingers, an area of the squad that is top-heavy. After waiting for his chance, and after some good performances, he was benched despite having played well. Rating: 6/10
Michael Paton: One of the most skillful players at the club. Deservedly a regular in the team, and has made a full recovery from an early season absence following a hernia operation. He makes up for lack of pace with very good close control and the ability to turn and leave defenders behind through skill. Rating: 6.5/10
Lewis Spence: On loan at Brechin after being unable to break into an under-performing central midfield. If the player is deemed surplus to requirements in the weakest area of the team, questions have to be asked about why he was given a new contract. Rating: 5/10 (due to his form at Brechin).
Nat Wedderburn: Ongoing injury problems have restricted Wedderburn's impact after signing in the summer. His displays in the Under 20s have not been overly impressive but if he can get fit and stay fit, he may yet have a role as a defensive midfielder in the first team. Rating: 4.5/10
Nicky Clark: After a difficult few weeks at Bury, the son of Pars assistant boss Sandy Clark returned to Scotland to sign for the Pars last month. With 3 goals already, he has made a good start to his Dunfermline career and should flourish playing alongside Farid El Alagui. Rating: 6.5/10
Farid El Alagui: Clearly a quality player and now seemingly over the injuries that he has suffered in the past 2 years. With 4 goals from 1 start and 5 sub appearances, and contracted until January, he must be secured on a longer deal soon before other clubs show any interest. Rating: 7/10
David Hopkirk: Capable of playing up front or on the left, Hopkirk was - surprisingly - given a 2 year contract in the summer despite being purely a squad player last season. A series of minor injuries have restricted his appearances this season, but he is fit again and possibly best used as an impact sub. Rating: 5/10
Michael Moffat: A very popular player who is technically a very good footballer, but as a striker lacks the killer instinct required at Championship level. At this stage of his career he will not be satisfied with occasional sub appearances, and a return to a League 1 club could be the best option for him. Rating: 5/10
Gavin Reilly: After initially appearing to be a great on-loan signing from Hearts, Reilly has sadly not fulfilled the hopes of the Pars management. Reilly has not impacted on games, scoring just 1 League goal, and was dropped from the starting 11 for the first time last weekend. Rating: 4.5/10
All photos by Pars Review.