Will the Irn-Bru Cup be a `Challenge` for the Pars?Date: Saturday, 13th Oct 2018
In a competition which Dunfermline have only reached the final of once, can DAFC fight their way through to the next stage of this season`s Irn-Bru Cup with a win over Alloa Athletic at East End Park this weekend?
The Fifers reached the 2007-08 Challenge Cup Final where they went on to lose to St Johnstone at Dens Park in Dundee. Allan Johnston`s men would enjoy progressing further in this season`s competition to keep their momentum up, following 2 wins on the bounce and a 5 match unbeaten spell, which includes a 0-0 draw against Saturday`s visitors.
The Wasps have won 5 natches this season - all in cup competitions. Jim Goodwin`s side have only collected 2 points from their last four matches, but, did defeat Dundee United on penalties in the previous round to secure their passage through; albeit, the match was won on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Tannadice.
Key-Players for Alloa will include Iain Flannigan, Kevin Cawley, Alan Trouten and Greig Spence. However, the part-time outfit have a big enough squad to make changes to keep players fresh and fit, while still being competitive. Loanees Sam Ruscoe, Liam Burt and Dario Zanatta provide strong competition throughout the squad with experienced campaigners Neil Parry, Andy Graham and Steven Hetherington providing good strength in depth throughout the spine of the team.
Dunfermline also have a large enough pool to pick from which may see rotation brought in to play for this cup-tie. Players such as Cammy Gill, Danny Devine, Tom Beadling, Robbie Muirhead and Myles Hippolyte will be pushing for a start with Kallum Higginbotham, Aidan Keena and Lewis Martin also nearing fitness following operations. Ryan Williamson will be absent due to being on international duty which may see defensive cover brought into the 18-man squad, with Stuart Morrison the most likely candidate.
Speaking of the `Reserve` players, they are a major reason in the Pars being in this round following their dramatic 2-1 victory away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the first round, as the youngsters knocked out the holders. Lewis McCann impressed that night and may be hoping for game-time one more while Brandon Luke, Paul Allan and Matty Todd are other possibilities - although Stevie Crawford`s men have their own cup-tie to concern themselves over, as the DAFC Reserves take on Motherwell Reserved in Stirling on Tuesday (16th October) in the Reserve League Cup.
A win would see either club progress to the quarter-finals and a real chance of lifting the trophy. It`ll be a tough match despite the form of both teams heading into this Last 16 encounter. It may require another penalty-shoot, but, the Pars having a ginger baw in next week`s draw is all that matters, come Saturday tea-time.