Betfred League Cup Preview: Dunfermline Athletic
Dundee kick-off their first home match this season when Dunfermline Athletic visit Dens on Sunday to do battle in the group stages of the Betfred League Cup.
The last time our two clubs met was also in this competition a few years back which unfortunately for us seen the Fife come out on top with a 3-0 victory at East End Park.
Like most clubs in Scotland, it's been a busy summer for the Pars so we spoke to Pars Review to get the lowdown on his team.
The Pars fell at the first stage of the play-offs last season despite from what I seen, having plenty of opportunities to make it to the semi-final. Undoubtable a disappointed end to the season but how would you rate your finish last term?
We did very well in the fourth quarter of the League season after a very poor period between November to early March. Midfield was the issue and once the new trio of midfielders signed during January all settled in, results and form improved. All 3 of those players (Tom Beadling, James Craigen and James Vincent) are now back at our club for this season, although Beadling is injured and Vincent is also carrying a slight injury, restricting him to one sub appearance this season.
We went into the playoffs with some confidence but a harsh red card in the first leg of the Dundee United 2 leg quarter final (which was overturned a week later on appeal) cost us a good chance of winning the home leg. We went 1-0 up at Tannadice and then missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0. United then scored twice and we were out.
It’s been a busy summer for Dunfermline with plenty of players leaving and going. What players have you been disappointed to see leave and who has excited the fans the most upon their arrival? I think a certain Fassial El Bakhtaoui might get a mention.
It's always disappointing to lose your captain (Callum Morris) plus the two top goal scorers (Nicky Clark and Declan McManus), plus one of the main attacking threats of the final few weeks of last season, Fraser Aird. The manner of Aird's departure was very disappointing, jumping ship to United after he told our club he would sign a new deal with us. Morris knocked back a new contract to play in England, then a few days later signed for Ross County!
All 4 are good players but I am impressed by their replacements and genuinely believe we have a better squad now. Faissal is a great example of a player who 'belongs' at a certain club; he is loved at Dunfermline and we are delighted to have him back. Myles Hippolyte looks to be a good signing too, and the players who returned from last season, mentioned already, plus new arrivals such as the Longridge brothers, Aidan Connolly and Danny Devine, have all played well so far. We were told by Thistle fans that Devine was a poor player but he has looked very good so far.
Your league campaign got off to a good start against Peterhead on Tuesday. How did Dunfermline play in their first competitive match of the 2018-19 season?
We played very well in the second half against Peterhead last night. Some of the quick passing movements involving Higginbotham, Connolly, Longridge and Hippolyte was great to watch.
The Championship looks like it will be very competitive this season but what are the expectations among the support with regards to the league and cups?
The Championship will be very tough this season; at least 6 clubs have hopes of promotion. We have improved our league position every season under Allan Johnston and hope/expect to challenge for the title and to (at the very least) secure a top 4 finish again.
You have James Vincent and Fassial El Bakhtaoui on loan from us but they will miss the tie on Sunday. Will they be massive losses to the team?
The team has done well in pre-season and in the one Betfred game without Vincent and Faissal - Vincent has one sub appearance this season, while Faissal hasn't played at all so far. If both were fit and available, they would be an asset but with the midfield doing well and with new signing Hippolyte scoring last night, plus a goal from striker Andy Ryan, we can cope without the 2 players mentioned.
Finally, What's your score predictions for Sunday?
I'd be very happy with a draw; I have great memories of some tremendous Dundee v Pars games at Dens over the past 25 years. The clubs are similar in many ways but I have to make Dundee favourites given your Premiership status. I was at your game at Stirling at the weekend and your new players all looked very good. McGowan also impressed, with everything going through him in midfield.
THE DEE got off to a flyer last weekend when they put four past Stirling Albion at Forthbank Stadium without reply. Sofien Moussa took his tally in this competition since signing last year to seven goals when he grabbed a double. Jean Medny also got off the mark as his Dundee career began with a goal after Moussa set him up to slot home. The pass wasn’t the best but Mendy was able to control the ball and slot it past the defence and goalkeeper between the sticks.
Craig Wighton capped off a fine second half performance when he added No.4. Despite a few shaky moments in defence in the first half and a double-save from Jack Hamilton at the beginning of the second, the result was never in doubt against Stirling.
DUNFERMLINE had to wait until midweek to get their campaign underway and did so with a 3-0 victory over Peterhead at East End Park.
New signing Myles Hippolyte opened the scoring in the first half and despite Peterhead hitting the post and then following up the rebound by striking the bar, the Pars would put this tie to bed in the dying minutes through a Karl Higginbotham penalty and a solo effort from Andy Ryan.
Dundee were dealt the bad news when midfield maestro Glenn Kamara picked up a knock in training and will miss Sundays tie and may well miss the rest of the league cup ties. The player is wearing a protective boot which the club said is a precautionary measure.
Head To Head
P118 W47 D29 L42 F197 A174
League Cup Stats
Head To Head
P8 W4 D2 L2 F19 A13
P3 W2 D1 L0 F10 A3
P5 W2 D1 L2 F9 A10
Top Goal Scorer
Alan Gilzean: 3 Goals
4-0, Dens Park, August 13th 1975
1-3, East End Park, August 25th 2015
Trivia: Dundee haven't beaten Dunfermline in our last six meetings (D3 L3) which spans all the way back to January 2010!