Derbies are always fiercely contested affairs. Yet, this one – which is so early in the season – may have drastic consequences down the stretch.
If the Bairns were to suffer defeat tomorrow, they would be six points behind an intriguing Pars outfit. Likely, even further off the pace of title favourites, Dundee United. It would be a blow to the club that has been runners-up the last two campaigns.
On the opposite side of the park are Athletic, who rode their luck with a draw at Almondvale. A week later, they backed up their playoff credentials with a demolishing of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A defeat would not be as sickening as it would be for Falkirk, but it would take diminish what has been a very good start in the Championship.
SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5
Saturday 19th, 15:00 at East End Park.
Jean Yves-M’voto (injured).
Nicky Clark (fitness).
Aaron Muirhead (suspended).
Games refereed –
FC Copenhagen 4-1 Vardar (3Y, 1R, 1P)
Rangers 2-3 Hibernian (8Y, 1R)
Ayr United 1-0 Kilmarnock
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0-2 Falkirk
Partick Thistle 1-0 Stranraer
What Dunfermline Athletic are saying
“They have got good players and it’s going to be a hard game. I do not think there’s much between all the teams in this league. It is going to be a tough test. It is a new season, there is a few new players at both clubs, and at the end of the day it is only one game. But it is certainly one that we want to go and impose ourselves on and win.” (Allan Johnston, manager)
What Falkirk are saying
“I love derby matches, they are fiercely fought but I do not think there is any malice between the fans and that is the way it should be. Dunfermline will come and attack us and I can guarantee that we will go and attack them as well so it could be an end to end game and a totally different game from the Dumbarton game on Saturday.” Peter Houston, manager)
Line ups last time out
Complete fixture list
Former Dunfermline Athletic players
Mark Kerr (2012).
Former Falkirk players
Fraser Aird (2017).
Kallum Higginbotham (2010-12).
Last four meetings
22/04/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Falkirk
04/02/17. Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic
26/12/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Falkirk
15/10/16. Falkirk 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic
Keys to the game
It will be 246 appearances and counting for the versatile footballer playing for his hometown club, three months after he thought he was moving on.
The 22-year-old started 10 or more games in each of the following positions last season: left wing (15), central midfield (15), and attacking midfield (10). It is a real possibility that the loss of him in the interim has affected the Bairns’ form. Sibbald played on average 83 minutes across all their Championship games last season.
While he will not be up to speed in terms of game time as the other members of the squad, but his ability exceeds most of them. For that reason alone Peter Houston may slot Sibbald in the middle of the park in an attempt to lift the supporters and get the result necessary.
He will never be liked amongst regular visitors to East End Park for his theatrics in winning his side a penalty in the last meeting between the two. Even so, his ability is exceeding his quality of simulation, and his pace will give whoever plays at right back (likely Ryan Williamson) a miserable time. At this moment in time, he can be the only player in a blue shirt that can be happy with his performances this season.
Right back is a problem for both outfits. However, Falkirk are struggling, having had to insert their third choice centre back into the position. Joe Cardle needs to give him a tough time of it, if, Dunfermline want to maximise thier chances of winning. It will be a game that is played at a frantic pace. So, getting it wide to the left winger in one-on-one situations with the Canadian would be a way to exploit the weaknesses in his game.
Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Falkirk
Dunfermline Athletic: 1.78
Dunfermline to win and over 2.5 goals: 4.25
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