Dunfermline Athletic versus MORTON
Saturday 29 April 2017
East End Park, Dunfermline
Morton travel through to Fife today to face Dunfermline Athletic in their final away game of the Ladbrokes Championship league campaign.
Having secured their Premiership play-off place with a draw against Ayr United last weekend, the Ton now look up the table and attempting to finish in as high a position as possible.
Leapfrogging either Dundee United or Falkirk, or both, will be a sizeable task, though, with the former sat four points ahead in third and the latter a further point clear in second and just two games left to play.
To give themselves a chance, Jim Duffy’s men must record a positive result away to the side with best head-to-head record against them this term, as well as hoping results elsewhere go their way.
The Pars, who are currently sat fifth in the table, have inflicted two league defeats on the Ton this term, including ending their longstanding unbeaten home run with a 1-0 win on Sinclair Street last month.
While they will be looking for a hat-trick of victories against the team sat directly above them as they aim to secure their current placing, Morton will be hoping to return to form ahead of next month’s play-offs.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “We’ve got two games to go, and to be nine points clear in fourth spot with two games to go is a magnificent return from the players.
“If we had stated at the start of the season we would be nine points clear in fourth with two games to go, I don’t think anyone would have envisaged that, even the most optimistic fan, in this division with the teams that are in it.
“So we’re thrilled about that first and foremost – and it allows us to go to Dunfermline a little bit more relaxed. We’re not going there just to turn up, but we should be a little bit more relaxed because the first target has certainly been achieved.
“There has been a bit of tension in the last few weeks, but now that we know we are definitely there, I’m confident the players will relax a little bit and can show their quality now.
“It gives us an opportunity to perhaps look at one or two other players and give them some game time and freshen them up, and that will be my intention today.Not dramatically because we still want to do well and try and find that spark again.
“But we will allow some of those boys who have been playing every single minute of every single game. They’re entitled to a little break, a little breather, before we start the play-offs in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Jon Scullion rolled his ankle in training and missed last weekend’s draw with Ayr United and will be assessed ahead of the game. Long-term injury victims Jai Quitongo and Conor Pepper remain sidelined.
Manager Jim Duffy, who will absent from the dugout as he completes a two-match ban, will take the opportunity to freshen things up ahead of the promotion play-offs.
Championship Player of the Year nominee Ross Forbes made the switch from East End Park to Cappielow midway through the 2014/15 season in a deal that saw striker Andy Barrowman move in the opposite direction.
Aberdeen loan striker Lawrence Shankland had a fruitful temporary stint with the Pars in season 2013/14, scoring seven goals in 14 starts for the Fifers.
Cappielow back-up goalkeeper Bryn Halliwell, who was named as a substitute in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Ayr United, played 13 matches in Dunfermline colours during the 2005/06 campaign.
Amongst the Dunfermline ranks are Paul McMullan and David Hutton; the former spent the final two months of last term on loan here at Cappielow from Celtic, while the latter served as back-up keeper to Derek Gaston during season 2012/13.
Sat 28 Mar 2015: Dunfermline Athletic 0-4 Morton (League One)
Sat 17 Sep 2016: Morton 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (Championship)
Sat 12 Dec 2016: Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Morton (Championship)
Sat 25 Mar 2017: Morton 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic (Championship)
Last Time Out
Jim Duffy’s men last lost on Sinclair Street on 26 March 2016 when Raith Rovers left Greenock victorious thanks to James Craigen’s second-half strike.
Since then, this talented and popular Ton team had gone 19 matches in all competitions without tasting the bitter sting of defeat on home turf.
However, Nat Wedderburn’s early goal was enough to earn the Pars maximum points on a sun-drenched afternoon and stop their hosts just short of reaching the landmark date.
Referee: Euan Anderson
Assistant one: Douglas Ross
Assistant two: Willie Ferguson
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £17
Concession – £11 (Over 60 and 12-16 year olds. Proof is required)
Child under 12 – £5
Image: David Bell