Betfred Cup - Tuesday 19 July 2016 - East End Park - KO 7.45pm
Dunfermline's first competitive fixture of the season takes place at East End Park on Tuesday evening. The first of 4 Betfred League Cup games, it puts the Pars up against the same opposition as last season's opening fixture. On that occasion, in the Challenge Cup, Dunfermline travelled to Arbroath with a much-changed team and a new manager, and came away with a resounding 4-1 victory. This set a marker for what was to come, and the following 3 games saw 5, 6 and then 7 Pars goals scored.
Judging by their performance against Dundee United last week, Arbroath are likely to be stronger opposition this time round, not least because their manager is a man who knows how to succeed with part time players, a great motivator and a Pars legend - Dick Campbell.
Appointed in March this year and with Arbroath second bottom of League 2, Dick's remit was to save the club from a relegation play-off, which he did. During the summer, 13 new players have been brought to the club, including highly rated on loan Aberdeen keeper Robbie Mutch, and forwards Bryan Prunty and Steven Doris. Ryan McCord will be a key player in midfield, and the team are already rated joint second favourites to win the division this season.
With a flurry of games over the next 2 weeks, Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston has already emphasised the need to utilise his squad for the 4 League Cup games, and not simply rely on what could be seen as his strongest starting 11. Most of the options for changes are in defence and midfield, and less so up front, where only the Moff and Gavin Reilly (pictured) are recognised first team strikers. There might be a case for playing more ball players in this game, and then selecting a physically stronger set of players for the next game at Cowdenbeath's ploughed field on Saturday. This could see Paul McMullan starting Tuesday's game. The team listed below is arguably the best starting 11 with the players who are available. Callum Fordyce has completed 2 games for the Under 20s in the past 10 days but is not yet ready for a first team return. David Hopkirk is still out with a niggling injury, as is keeper Sean Murdoch with a wrist injury.
Possible Pars starting 11:
A match report with photos will be posted here tomorrow evening.