Pre-Match vs Dunfermline Athletic

Credit: Lesley Fleming Photography

Having taken six points from a potential nine against the top two sides in the league, Raith Rovers will travel to East End Park in good spirits for Wednesday's derby game. The match represents another chance to outline their playoff credentials and with bragging rights on the line it should be a fixture where they'll fancy their chances having put in a convincing performance last weekend against Dundee.

The match will come at an interesting time given Dunfermline's current form: Saturdays defeat to Hearts meant that the Pars haven't picked up three points since Boxing Day when they played Arbroath. This has been their only win since they beat Hearts at home late in November. With this said, Crawford's side still have an excellent home record winning 4 of their 6 matches at East End Park falling only to Greenock Morton and drawing with Ayr.

Rovers aren't without their own worries: Kyle Benedictus will miss the match following a hamstring injury and Ross Matthews is likely to be unavailable again. Regan Hendry remains suspended following his red card against Hearts and John McGlynn confirmed the match will come too soon for Gozie Ugwu. It would be surprising to see any non-enforced changes given the Dundee performance - the squad looked well equipped against a team littered with excellent players. While it was by no means perfect it was more than adequate to beat the Den's Park side.

Away from home, Rovers have only lost once in six games when they fell to Caley Thistle. The win at Tynecastle meant that they have picked up 11 points from a possible18 on the road with 3 victories and 2 draws. As touched upon, for Rovers to find themselves in second place with less games played than every team other than Caley Thistle is an incredible feat given the resources our rivals have available to them.

Dunfermline may well recruit further in the January transfer window with Craig Wighton being linked as a potential signing on loan from Hearts. He would join Scott Banks who made the move north from Crystal Palace having previously came through Dundee United's youth academy. One interesting question mark comes over the roles of Dom Thomas and Kyle Turner - in his post match interview Crawford explained both missed the match due to an incident in training and that the club would "keep it in house".

In his post-match interview John McGlynn lamented that he was consistently being approached by other clubs and agents offering players but was reluctant to state Rovers would bring anybody on board. After stating that the directors might push the boat out for the right player, Monday evening saw the return of Jamie Gullan for a third loan spell from Hibernian.

The arrival of the forward was greeted in a hugely positive manner by both players and fans alike. It can only be beneficial to have such a popular character around the dressing room. But more than that, Gullan has consistently shown linear progress in his previous loan spells. Having started off quietly in his first spell, he got his first professional goal against Forfar in the playoffs. He then stepped up to form a solid partnership with Kieron Bowie in the first half of last season to net 9 goals in 18 games.

In returning to Hibs, he supplemented their front line and netted three goals for the first team squad. As a young forward, the loan will give him another chance to hone his craft in the first team environment while getting regular games. With a front line which could potentially involve Vaughan, Duku, Ugwu, Abraham and Gullan the Rovers fans should have plenty of reason for optimism for the latter stages of the season.

There's no better fixture for his return than the derby tomorrow. It should prove to be another end to end battle like that last match where the clubs played out a 2-2 draw. Tomorrow's forecast shows a snowstorm in Dunfermline tomorrow which could make for an interesting spectacle. A win would represent a huge step for the club, and with games still in hand over those about them there's still plenty of room for optimism should things not go our way.

The match can be live streamed from ParsTV at the cost of £12. The streaming for their service uses the same account details as Queen of the South's service which should make the process easier for fans who viewed the game in the Dumfries.

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