Saturday's game in Greenock sees both teams in need of a morale-boosting victory and some much-needed points in what is proving to be a very competitive Championship division. Morton were promoted to the Championship after winning League 1 in 2014/15, and last season finished a creditable 5th. They have yet to win a League game this season, with 3 draws and 2 defeats. Their most recent game was last weekend against Ayr United, who recorded their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory.
Morton have strengthened their squad this week with the signing of out-of-contract ex-Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning. The player was freed by United after a controversial incident in a game against Inverness last season, when he picked up the ball and walked off the pitch, claiming injury. United fans regularly questioned the player's temperament, with one supporter saying online that "I wouldn't wish him on anyone, not even Dundee." Morton manager Jim Duffy has a different opinion on the player had this to say this week: “I think Gavin is a terrific player and it’s just unforeseen circumstances that he’d found himself out of the game. He’s not had any game time recently and it will take him a couple of weeks. But he’s going to be in the squad for Saturday. Hopefully his experience and his knowledge will get him through the first couple of games and his fitness will come into play after that.”
The League table below shows the start the both clubs have made this season.
Pars boss Allan Johnston has praised his players despite the defeat against Dundee United last Saturday. However there were several aspects of the team's performance that could see changes made for the game at Cappielow. Right-back Ryan Williamson has been struggling defensively and could benefit from being rested for a game or two. He could be replaced by either Callum Fordyce (moving from central defence to full-back, meaning a return to the starting 11 for centre-half Ben Richards-Everton) or Lewis Martin, who could switch full-back positions now that left-back Jason Talbot has served his 2 match suspension. It is unlikely that more than 2 changes to the back 4 will be made, to sustain some continuity while also freshening up the defensive line in certain positions. In central midfield, Johnston has the option of giving a first start to loan signing John Herron (pictured, above) at the expense of Rhys McCabe. In the wide positions, 2 of 4 players will start, with Joe Cardle, Paul McMullan, Michael Paton and Kallum Higginbotham all available. McMullan has been in good form and could move from left to right wing to allow Joe Cardle to return to the team, with Michael Paton, despite scoring last week, dropping to the bench. Up front, Johnston has Farid El Alagui available, but may retain the pairing of Gavin Reilly and Nicky Clark (pictured below), and use El Alagui from the bench.
Possible Pars line-up, with squad numbers:
Photos by Pars Review.
Tomorrow: Game Day image and full match report/opinion, photos and Pars player ratings.