Craig Anderson looks at Stephen Kenny's Dunfermline side as he previews tomorrow's IRN-BRU First Division clash at Broadwood ...
Clyde v Dunfermline (21/9/2007)
AS league tables go, the Scottish First Division is fast becoming the nation's tightest league and you might say this week's match at Broadwood is a three-pointer. Dunfermline Athletic come to the home of the Bully Wee on Saturday as they hope to get some much-needed points as runaway
leaders Hamilton Accies look like disappearing into the distance.
The Fifers are craving a quick return to the SPL, from whence they came and unless they start picking up points, Stephen Kenny's boys might just spend another year away from the top flight. To even suggest Hamilton are winning this league is way too premature, especially as we haven't reached October yet, but the Pars know they have some work to do.
For Clyde, every point is a prisoner and a defeat to Dunfermline would see them cast adrift from the rest, but only if Stirling Albion manage to get something against Dundee. Last week's draw at Queen of the South was a vital point for Colin Hendry and more like it would certainly be welcomed.
Some interesting facts are thrown up about this fixture as both sides prepare for their second meeting of the season. The Pars were last at Broadwood nearly three weeks ago in a Challenge Cup Second Round tie and perhaps the scoreline didn't reflect the true course of the game. Doubles from Mark Burchill and Owen Morrison saw the Pars seal their last eight place in a 4-1 win for them, with Ruari McLennan's equaliser giving false hope.
That match aside, Clyde haven't faced Dunfermline in the league since 1994, when both sides were in the First Division. Even then the Bully Wee lost both home games 2-0 and 1-0 respectively as they ended up in the Second Division at the end of that season. Even more curious is the fact that Clyde have not beaten the East End Park outift in the last 20 years, a statistic Mr Hendry, I'm sure, would like to address. It was a 1-0 league win in November 1986 that sealed a rare Bully Wee win, but in 11 meetings since, Dunfermline have won nine of those, including the last six.
More recently the Pars are unbeaten in their last four, including Tuesday's 2-0 win over Airdrie United in the Challenge Cup, with Burchill bagging another two goals. However they have yet to win away from home in the league this season and defeat at Broadwood would deal them another promotion blow.
Clyde on the other hand have to improve fast on their single win in five outings and while the league may be tight at this juncture, failure to pick up points would be a major problem. Nevertheless both will fancy taking the points and depending on how other games go in the league, one team could be flirting in the top half of the division. However the other side might find that life in the First Division is going to get a lot tougher in the weeks to come.