Scottish Championship - Saturday 04/02/17 - KO 3.00pm - The Falkirk Stadium
Odds (Ladbrokes): Falkirk 21/10; Draw 5/2; Dunfermline 5/2
The Bairns and the Pars meet for the third time this season, with Dunfermline looking to defeat their rivals in their own ground for the first time since March 2011. In the 4 matches in Falkirk since, the home side have won 3, and drawn 1. The previous meeting in Falkirk this season was a relatively tame affair, given the historic rivalry between the clubs. Falkirk ran out 2-1 winners. The next time the teams met, at East End Park in December, the points were shared in a 1-1 draw.
The 2-1 victory over St Mirren last weekend continued a mini-revival for Falkirk in the Championship, with 2 wins and a draw from the past 3 games, coming after a run of 4 games without a win in December. Falkirk are currently in the fourth place play-off position, and have only the League to play for after losing at Morton in the Scottish Cup 2 weeks ago.
Manager Peter Houston has spoken in the media about his frustration at being denied money for new players. In order to bring in Fraser Aird and Robbie Thomson, Houston had to trim his squad. This month, Falkirk have received 2 payments for ex-players (Stephen Kingsley and Will Vaulks) both of whom had clauses in their transfers that result in Falkirk receiving additional cash when the players make a certain number of appearances for their new clubs. Houston, however, was not given any of this money for new signings. He commented: "I think we're still short but I've got to go with the powers that be and I'm not getting any money to spend. I think we're short in the middle of midfield. The reason I let John Rankin go was to get Fraser in. Deniz Mehmet left and we brought in Robbie. I can only go with what I'm given and I'm not getting any more, unfortunately. We received benefits from Stephen Kingsley playing his 15th game for Swansea, and there's money to come in for the second part of Will Vaulks' fee. So there's plenty of money coming in. I asked - but I never got."
Earlier this week, Houston added midfielder Joe McKee to his squad, after the player was released by Carlisle United.
Here is the current Championship table:
Injured: Ben Richards-Everton, Ryan Williamson
The transfer window closed with no late additions to the Dunfermline squad. The only January signing was Callum Morris, early in the transfer period. Meanwhile, Under 20s players Cammy Gill, Euan Spark, Conner Duthie and Scott Lochhead were loaned to clubs in League 1 and League 2, and young striker Ciaran Lafferty was released.
The first team are now unbeaten in 11 games in League & Cup. The next 4 League games, however, will provide a stiff test as the Pars face the top 4 teams in the division. Continuity of selection has allowed the team to The side has a very settled look to it, The only change in the past few weeks was Morris coming in for an on-form Callum Fordyce. Allan Johnston is unlikely to make any changes for tomorrow's game. A natural right back would improve the team further but Andy Geggan is likely to continue there.
A Pars victory tomorrow would possibly be the most significant win of the season so far. Defeating one of our biggest rivals in their own stadium would give the team even greater belief in themselves and could result in a concerted push for the promotion play-off places in the weeks ahead.
Same team as last week - no need to change any position given the players available.
Preferred starting 11, with squad numbers:
Photo by Pars Review.
Tomorrow: Game Day image, then later in the evening match report/opinion with photos and Pars player ratings.