Dunfermline Athletic narrowly missed out on the Ladbrokes Championship promotion play-offs last term. But the Pars look set for a top-four finish this time around, following a terrific recent run of results.
We take a look at the reasons behind the Fife club’s current promotion push…
Johnston making the right calls
It’s no surprise that they’re coping well with the business end of the season. Boss Allan Johnston led the club to promotion from League 1 in 2015-16, and also won the third-tier as Queen of the South boss in his first season as a manager, in 2013.
The savvy boss also seems to have struck upon the ideal system for his side. The Pars have switched to a 4-4-2 with two wide men since the start of February, and it’s worked brilliantly.
Dunfermline are currently on the league’s longest unbeaten run. They haven’t lost in seven games, winning five of them. That included a 1-0 defeat of second-placed Livingston in their last match.
Pars stars are on song
However, it’s not all been about all the gaffer and his tactics. Much of the recent praise has rightly gone to striker Nicky Clark, who is hitting top form at just the right time.
The former Rangers ace has netted seven goals in his last five games. But he’s more than just a fine goalscorer – as six assists this term will attest to.
Not that he’s the only player deserving of plaudits. Midfielder Joe Cardle – a member of the League 1 winning side – has hit double figures in all competitions, and is a nightmare for opponents with his slick passing.
On the right flank, defender Ryan Williamson and midfielder Kallum Higginbotham have chalked up a combined 23 assists this term, and both players have a real engine.
Add in the fact that keeper Lee Robinson has produced nine clean sheets in 15 games since joining, and the Pars have a wealth of talent within the side. And with several of the League 1 squad of 2015-16 still at the club, it’s no surprise there’s also a strong team spirit at East End Park.
Dunfermline have it all in their own hands as regards securing a play-off spot. And their last three games could hardly look more straightforward – they host the league’s bottom two clubs either side of a trip to Inverness.
Next up is the visit of winless Brechin City to East End Park. The Pars have won each of the last eight meetings, and should strengthen their hold on that top-four spot on Saturday.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing