Even though its almost March, this is just the third game against Raith Rovers this season. Honours are even at one win each but much has changed at both clubs.
Its nearly four months since we visited Kirkcaldy for the last meeting of the two clubs, a game we lost 1-0 with a late, late goal from Mark Stewart. That followed a 3-1 victory at Palmerston in September with two goals from Dobbie and one from Dean Brotherston.
Raith, too, have a new manager since the last game, after sacking Gary Locke and his staff at the beginning of this month and replacing them with John "Yogi" Hughes. The former Falkirk, Hibs, Livingston and Hartlepool United boss has been out of the game since leaving ICT at the end of the 2015-16 season and has taken on the Raith job until the end of the season.
A whole transfer window has come and gone since our last meeting too. Raith brought in four players in January. Ryan Hardie joined on loan from Rangers, after spending the first half of the season at St Mirren. Another player swapping one Championship side for another was Ryan Stevenson, who moved to Raith from Dumbarton. Also joining were Scott Roberts, from Rangers, and defender David Syme who joined from Partick after working with Locke at Kilmarnock.
One of the players leaving was another ex-Ranger, Robbie Crawford who joined East Kilbride after failing to secure a regular place in the team. The Rangers connections don’t stop there, as promising young defender David Bates swapped Starks Park for Ibrox making his loan move a permanent one.
The other, perhaps most surprising move, in January was the loan move of Lewis Vaughan to, fellow Championship side, Dumbarton. Vaughan was highly rated and made a fantastic start to his Rovers career before a serious injury kept him out until recently.
This Ladbrokes Championship match kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 25th February at Palmerston. Live updates will be available on the website and on Twitter and Facebook. We will also publish pictures through the day on our new Instagram Channel
For home fans, the normal ticket procedure applies for the game and tickets will be available for all areas of the ground on match day from the usual ticket offices. Tickets can also be purchased in advance from the Midsteeple and, from Thursday onwards, the Club Shop.
For season ticket holders, this will be match ticket 13.
Full ticket details and pricing, for home and away fans, can be found here
Away fans will be in the Rosefield Salvage Stand. Tickets are on sale on the day at the ground from the usual ticket offices.
Directions on how to get to Palmerston, including parking information, can be found here
Never been to Palmerston before? Read our First Time Fan Guide
It was a bitterly disappointing to lose last Saturday’s game, especially as in my opinion we were the better side for large parts of the game. We always looked a threat when we were attacking, but we paid the penalty for poor defending, especially for the first two Dundee United goals which were particularly poor from our perspective. At half-time I challenged the players to go out and win the second half. I was pleased with their response and the way they stuck together - the lads deserve credit for that. In the end we gave ourselves just too much to do but we certainly gave a good account of ourselves in the second 45 minutes. It would've been nice for everyone concerned to reach the final but it wasn't to be and we can now fully focus on the league.
This home game against Raith Rovers will be another tough one for us. They have a new manager at the helm and he has made a good start. John is one of the games great characters and he had an immediate influence on the Raith team last week when they took a very good point from their game with Hibernian. Teams always seem to get a reaction when they change their manager so I'd have preferred for them to have made the change after they play us.
Saturday's game is the first of back to back games at Palmerston, I'm not going to say it's a must win for us, that's not a phrase I like, what I will say is that we can't afford many more slip ups. We will take each game as it comes but we need to make sure that we are taking the majority of points from our next two games, if we can do that then it sets us up for a mouth watering trip to Morton.
We know it's going to be a big ask for us to reach the play-offs but rest assure we will be giving it our best shot and all we can do is keep picking up points and see where it leaves us.
The players who were cup-tied last weekend, Joe Thomson, John Rankin and Scott Mercer all come back into contention. Although we lost last week the performance was good and with the three players available again, it gives us competition for places.
Referee : Barry Cook
Assistant 1 : Stuart Hodge
Assistant 2 : Drew Kirkland
This will be Mr Cooks eleventh game in charge for us, going back almost five years. Our record in the previous ten games is 5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats, the most recent of which was the 1-0 loss on Christmas Eve at Cappielow against Morton. Of the four games he has refereed at Palmerston, we've won just once, against St Mirren last season but have only lost one of those games, against Dundee in 2014. Both those games were also in February.
The overall head to head stats between the two clubs show Raith with a clear lead of 45 wins to 35 and 24 draws. At Palmerston, however, we have a slight advantage with 19 wins to 16 and 16 draws.
Recent games follow a similar pattern – we've won just once in Kirkcaldy since the introduction of the Championship but have only lost twice at Palmerston. Raiths last win here, though, was just 10 months ago when goals from Benedictus and, ex Queens player, Craig Barr were enough to seal a 2-1 win for the Rovers.
Away from the league, we havent faced Raith in a cup competition since 1994 – the year Raith won not only the Division One title, as it was then, but the League Cup, beating Celtic in the final.