Scottish Championship - Saturday 15/04/17 - KO 3.00pm - The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium
Odds (McBookie): Dumbarton 15/8; Draw 5/2; Dunfermline 11/8
With Pars goals hard to come by (just 3 in the past 6 games, and only 1 of those from open play), tomorrow's opponents Dumbarton could seem like the ideal opposition, with Dunfermline having scored 11 goals in the 3 previous League games against them this season. However, as they have done for the past 4 seasons, Dumbarton have proved to be a well-drilled team, looking likely to avoid relegation despite being one of just two part time clubs in the Championship. A win for either side tomorrow would ease any lingering relegation fears for the remaining games of the season.
Our opponents -
Last five outings:
8 April - Championship - Drew 1-1 v St Mirren (A)
1 April - Championship - Won 1-0 v Morton (H)
25 March - Championship - Lost 2-1 v Ayr United (A)
18 March - Championship - Drew 2-2 v Hibs (A)
11 March - Championship - Won 4-0 v Raith Rovers (H)
With only 2 defeats in their past 10 Championship games, Dumbarton are proving to be a resiliant, organised and well-managed team, capable of taking points against clubs with greater resources, and overcoming their part time status in what is their fourth season in the Championship. As their recent results show, they have gathered points in games at difficult venues, including away at Easter Road and then at home to Morton. While the relegation battle will possibly go to the last day of the season, it would not be a surprise if Dumbarton finish in 7th or 8th position and avoid automatic relegation or a play-off, and begin season 2017/18 in the Championship.
Dumbarton have scored in all of their last 11 games.
Dumbarton have scored 27 of their Championship goals in the second half of games: 64% of their total of 42 goals.
With the exception of the recent 4-0 home win against Raith Rovers, Dumbarton have not won a home game by a margin of more than 1 goal this season, their other 4 home victories being three 1-0 wins and a 2-1.
In the dugout
After a relatively successful period as manager of Stranraer, Stephen Aitken was appointed Dumbarton manager in May 2015. Aitken was a midfielder in his playing days, appearing over 100 times for Morton and then moving to Stranraer where he played 156 League games. He became the assistant manager at Stranraer in 2009 while still playing, and then was made manager in 2012.
Pars & Dumbarton facts & stats
Head to head record - last 10 meetings:
Pars wins: 8
Dumbarton wins: 1
Pars Review match reports from the games between the teams this season:
6 August 2016 - Pars 4, Dumbarton 3
29 October 2016 - Dumbarton 2, Pars 2
4 March 2017: Pars 5, Dumbarton 1
Three Dumbarton players have previously played for Dunfermline: Gregor Buchanan played 1 season for Dunfermline in 2014/15, making 36 appearances. Andy Stirling also was a Pars player for that solitary season, playing 18 times before going on loan to Stirling Albion for the remainder of his Pars contract. Robert Thomson made 9 appearances for the Pars in 2013.
From the current Pars squad, only Andy Geggan has played for Dumbarton. He spent 5 years there, from 2006 to 2011, making 158 appearances.
Here is the current Championship table:
Last five outings:
11 April - Championship - v Dundee United (A)
8 April - Championship - Won 1-0 v Raith (H)
1 April - Championship - Drew 1-1 v Hibs (H)
25 March - Championship - Won 1-0 v Morton (A)
18 March - Championship - Lost 1-0 v Ayr United (H)
The lack of goals in the Pars team is a growing concern, with strikers Nicky Clark and Michael Moffat both going through lean spells: Clark, although the third top scorer in the Championship this season, has scored in just 1 of his past 13 games, while the Moff's has scored in only 1 of his past 19 games. The other strikers in the first team squad are Gavin Reilly, who has 1 League goal this season, and David Hopkirk, who didn't even make the bench on Tuesday against Dundee United.
Lack of options up front mean I would name the same team that started the last 2 games.
Preferred starting 11, with squad numbers:
Tomorrow: Game Day image, then later in the evening match report/opinion with photos and Pars player ratings.