The third round of the Irn Bru Cup takes place this weekend and the Pars travel to a familiar venue, Glebe Park, Brechin. Six League visits to the Angus town between seasons 2013/14 to 2015/16 saw Dunfermline register 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats.
Brechin have started the season in great form, winning 3 and drawing the other of their opening 4 fixtures in League 1. They also defeated St Johnstone on penalties in the Betfred League Cup after the game ended as a draw after 90 minutes, and won 4-1 against Cove Rangers in the previous round of the Challenge Cup.
Early last season the Pars scored 6 against Brechin at Glebe Park, but that came in a period when their then-new manager Darren Dodds was struggling to fill his substitutes bench having inherited a threadbare squad on his arrival . In the same fixture later in the season, Dunfermline won 2-1 in a tightly contested game that could be a much better indicator of how Saturday's game will be.
After losing last season's top scorer Robert Thomson, Brechin have been boosted by the return of Alan Trouten from Ayr United. Trouten, whose first spell at Brechin saw him score 51 goals in 95 games, has already scored twice this season. He has been joined by 8 other new summer signings, among them ex-Par Finn Graham.
Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston has stated that he will make changes this weekend, with the Challenge Cup a lower priority competition. The team will be a mix of some regulars plus squad players who will be given some much needed first team game time. We may also see both of this week's new signings.
In defence, Callum Fordyce could start alongside Lee Ashcroft, a pairing who have never played together but who could feature more regularly as the season goes on. Fordyce has made only one first team start this season, so Saturday represents a good chance to give him another full game.
There are several options open to the manager in midfield. On the wings, any two of 4 players could start: Joe Cardle, Paul McMullan (pictured above), Kallum Higginbotham and Michael Paton. McMullan's impressive 45 minutes last week could see him get a start tomorrow, with Higginbotham possibly missing out and Cardle rested. New loan signing John Herron could feature alongside Andy Geggan in central midfield. Nat Wedderburn made a playing return for the Under 20s on Wednesday, but may still lack the required level of fitness to start a first team game. Lewis Spence (pictured, right) could also start at the ground where he enjoyed a successful loan spell last season. Rhys McCabe would be a surprise pick after his poor game last week, and with other players in his position who need more game time.
Up front, Nicky Clark could make his debut, with the Moff likely to drop to the bench. Trialist Farid El Alagui is another possibility, should he be signed before the game (and after this article has been posted).
Possible Pars starting 11, with squad numbers:
All photos by Pars Review.
A full match report, with photos, will be posted tomorrow evening.
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