Irn Bru Cup - Saturday 12/11/16 - KO 12.30pm - East End Park
Odds (Skybet): Dunfermline 12/5; Draw 12/5; Dundee United evens
The second meeting of the teams in the space of 5 days, and the fourth this season so far, sees Dundee United visit East End Park in the quarter-finals of the Irn Bru Challenge Cup. After United's 1-0 win at Tannadice in Tuesday's League game, Saturday's fixture is arguably one that Dunfermline especially could do without, given the seriousness of the Pars' League position and the upcoming Championship games, starting at St Mirren on Saturday 19th November. The Challenge Cup will only be a priority for teams in mid table who have no relegation worries and no realistic aspirations of promotion. For both teams on Saturday, it might be seen as an unwelcome distraction from the real business of promotion and relegation. It is equally important for United to return to the Premiership as it is for Dunfermline to avoid a catastrophic relegation.
Dundee United's recent good run has now been extended to 8 games without a defeat in all competitions, which includes 5 consecutive victories. It is now 12 games since United failed to score, which is another pointer to their good form. Although they have won all 3 meetings between the teams so far this season, it was only in the first game - the Betfred Cup meeting at Tannadice - that United won with any degree of comfort. The first League game at East End Park saw the Pars miss 3 first half penalties, and conceded an injury time third goal after dominating possession for most of the game. Tuesday's Championship game at Tannadice saw Dunfermline put in a gutsy, determined performance that matched the home side until Nat Wedderburn's red card.
Pars line up: the manager's selection
Injured players: Ben Richards-Everton, David Hopkirk, Gavin Reilly, Ryan Williamson.
Allan Johnston prefers to keep a settled line up when possible but tomorrow's game might be the exception. With a far more important League game next week in mind, some players could be rested against United, giving opportunities to Callum Fordyce, Paul McMullan, Michael Moffat and others. All 4 injured players, none of whom are currently first choice, might have played , so in certain positions options are limited.
Preferred Pars line-up:
A mix of squad players and first team regulars. The League is far more important, and the result on Saturday will have no bearing on the season ahead, unlike next week's game in Paisley. My preferred line-up reflects that: Cardle, Higginbotham and El Alagui all rested. The defence is unchanged due to lack of options. Had the 4 injured players been available, I would have made further changes.
Line-up (with squad numbers):
Photos by Pars Review.
Tomorrow: Game Day image and full match report/opinion, photos and Pars player ratings.