Scottish Championship - Saturday 28/01/17 - KO 3.00pm - East End Park
Odds (Ladbrokes): Dunfermline 11/5; Draw 12/5; Dundee United 6/5
Dunfermline and Dundee United meet up for the fifth time this season at East End Park tomorrow, with the home side keen to extend a 10 game unbeaten run, and the visitors aiming to record a first League victory of 2017. United were the last team to defeat the Pars, in November, with the other 3 games between the teams also resulting in United wins, in the League and also in the Challenge Cup and League Cup. With the exception of the first game, at Tannadice in the League Cup in July, when United were comfortable 2-0 winners, the teams have been evenly matched. The 3 missed Pars penalties in the League game against United at East End Park in September and the sending off of Nat Wedderburn with the game goalless at Tannadice in November, were factors that denied Dunfermline more positive results.
Dundee United: After topping the Championship earlier in the season, during a run of 12 undefeated games (9 wins and 3 draws) between 24 September to 24 December, United then suffered 2 consecutive defeats in the League, with a third straight loss prevented by 2 late goals at home to QOS to rescue a point in a 3-3 draw on 14 January. This has seen United fall 6 points behind Hibs at the top of the Championship. The Tannadice team then lost 6-2 against Ross County in the Scottish Cup last week. Based on results in the past 8 League games, United have gained only 3 points more than bottom of the table St Mirren.
Despite this, United will be difficult opponents tomorrow, and as noted above, have defeated Dunfermline in all 4 of the previous games between the teams so far this season. Manager Ray McKinnon's only signing in the January transfer window is Danish striker Thomas Mikkelsen, signed on loan from Odense.
Here is the current Championship table:
Injured: Ben Richards-Everton, Ryan Williamson
Manager Allan Johnston used last week's Scottish Cup game at Alloa to make 3 changes to his settled line-up, giving game time to Lewis Martin and Gavin Reilly, and a debut to Callum Morris. The players they replaced - Jason Talbot, Callum Fordyce and Michael Moffat - will be in line for recalls for tomorrow's game, with Johnston expected to revert back to what would be considered to be his strongest line-up. Morris could be preferred over Fordyce. The team are undefeated in 8 League games (10 competitive games in total, including the Scottish Cup) and the same approach that has contributed to the recent good run will certainly be required against United, who despite a recent dip in form, remain the second strongest team in the division.
I would make 2 changes to the team that defeated Alloa in the Scottish Cup last week: Jason Talbot and Michael Moffat would replace Lewis Martin and Gavin Reilly. I would start Callum Morris (as unfair as it may seem on Callum Fordyce).
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.