Scottish Championship - Saturday 06/05/17 - KO 3.00pm - Palmerston Park
Odds (McBookie): Queen of the South 13/10; Draw 12/5; Dunfermline 21/10
The final game of the season takes place tomorrow in Dumfries and although neither side can be promoted or relegated, there is a place in the top half of the division to play for. This would represent a satisfying return to the Championship for Dunfermline.
Our opponents -
Queen of the South
Last five outings:
29 April - Championship - Drew 2-2 v Falkirk (A)
22 April - Championship - Lost 2-1 v Dumbarton (H)
15 April - Championship - Lost 3-0 v Hibs (A)
8 April - Championship - Won 2-0 v Ayr United (A)
1 April - Championship - Won 4-2 v Dundee United (H)
Queens' season has been a tale of extreme highs and lows, followed by consolidation. After leading the Championship with 5 wins and a draw in their opening 6 games, they endured a winless run of 13 matches, which included 7 straight defeats. This led to the resignation of manager Gavin Skelton, who was replaced by Gary Naysmith, and a slight upturn in results. Their season has faded away with little to actively play for, and they currently have won only 2 of their past 10 games but are secure in mid table. Without the goals of Stephen Dobbie (19 in the League, 26 in all competitions), Queens could easily have faced a relegation battle.
Queens have the joint second worst home record in the Championship this season (21 points from 17 games).
Queens have only had one score draw at home this season.
In the dugout
Appointed Queens manager on 1 December 2016 after a successful first managerial post at East Fife, who he led to the League 2 title last season. Naysmith, who was a full-back, enjoyed a 16-year playing career, beginning at Hearts in 1996. He made 121 appearances for Hearts before moving to Everton in 2001, playing 155 times for the Goodison Park club. He then joined Sheffield United, making 88 appearances, then moved to Huddersfield, Aberdeen then onto East Fife in the summer of 2013. He was initially signed as a player at East Fife, but became player/manager in December 2013. He won 46 Scotland international caps and also made 22 appearances for Scotland Under 21s.
Pars & Queens facts & stats
Head to head record - last 10 meetings:
Pars wins: 4
Queens wins: 7
Pars Review match reports from the games between the teams this season:
27 August 2016 - Pars 0, Queen of the South 1
17 December 2016 - Queen of the South 2, Pars 2
7 March 2017 - Pars 1, Queen of the South 1
Four Queens players have previously played for Dunfermline: Andy Dowie and Chris Higgins were part of the First Division (now Championship) winning team of 2010/11. Scott Mercer had one first team appearance for the Pars, while Derek Lyle did not feature for the Dunfermline first team in his spell at the club in 2004.
From the current Pars squad, Nicky Clark, David Hopkirk, David Hutton, Michael Paton and Gavin Reilly have all played for Queens. Pars boss Allan Johnston played and managed Queens, where his assistant manager was current Pars assistant Sandy Clark. Coach John Potter also played for Queens, on loan from Dunfermline, in 2012.
Here is the current Championship table:
Last five outings:
29 April - Championship - Won 3-1 v Morton (H)
22 April - Championship - Lost 2-1 v Falkirk (H)
15 April - Championship - Won 2-0 v Dumbarton (A)
11 April - Championship - Lost 1-0 v Dundee United (A)
8 April - Championship - Won 1-0 v Raith (H)
Pride, a top half finish and a last chance for some players to impress manager Allan Johnston are the remaining motivating factors for the Dunfermline team that travel to Dumfries tomorrow. Fifth v sixth in the final League game does not suggest that the game will be a hard-fought affair, but a win would end the season in a positive mood, and serve as a good farewell for whichever squad members may be featuring for the final time.
With Andy Geggan, Callum Morris,Ben Richards-Everton and John Herron injured, I would still select the strongest available line-up, rather than give other players a run-out from the start. This means the same team that defeated Morton last week.
Preferred starting 11, with squad numbers:
Tomorrow: Game Day image, then later in the evening match report/opinion with photos and Pars player ratings.