We are back at the Rock this Saturday, for the final time this season, to take on Dumbarton.
Our last trip to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, was a 0-0 draw around the start of our winless run back on the 1st October. The last meeting between the clubs was at the beginning of December, when Dumbarton came away from Palmerston with a 2-1 win thanks to a fantastic strike from Ryan Stevenson and a hotly disputed Fleming penalty.
Stevenson has since moved on to Raith Rovers, in this transfer window along with Fraser Wright, Craig Pettigrew and Josh Todd who left for Stirling, Stranraer and St Mirren respectively. Another player who has a new club this January is, of course, Joe Thomson who joined us after his loan spell with Dumbarton expired.
Steve Aitken has moved quickly to replace these players, though, with five new signings joining the Sons already. Ex-St Mirren midfielder, Stuart Carswell joined from Icelandic football along with, a more, recent ex-saint Callum Gallagher and, ex-Rangers youth Tom Lang. Fans favourite, Christian Nade, is also back at the Rock after a spell with Stranraer.
All of their new signings, except Gallagher who joined this week, featured in the narrow 1-0 defeat to Hibs last weekend. None made as big an impression, though, as Lewis Vaughan who picked up the man of the match award and a place in the SPFL team of the week on his debut after a, rather surprising, loan move from Raith until the end of the season. The young forward has suffered with injuries since his break through in Kirkcaldy but if he can show the kind of form he did then he could prove to be a hugely important signing for Dumbarton.
Since the game at Palmerston, Dumbartons form has been mixed. They've won only twice, drawn once and lost four times, including a defeat in the cup to Bonnyrig Rose. Its been a tough run, though, with two games against Hibs, a trip to Morton and home games against Falkirk and Dundee United in that time.
This Ladbrokes Championship match kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 21st January at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, Dumbarton.
We will be wearing our home, blue, kit for this match.
Away fans at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium are housed in the west section of the stand. Dumbarton operate two categories of matches, this game will be Category B.
Prices for the match are :
Parent & Child - £24 (Child Under-12)
Directions to Dumbartons stadium, along with full pricing info, can be found on their website – Directions
The Dressing Room
"It's been a quieter week for us this week on the transfer front but it's still been busy on the training park.
The boys have been in good spirits after taking four points from their last two games although there is a hint of disappointment that they didn't take maximum points from Tannadice last weekend. It's only a hint though as they have to be proud of going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the division and outplaying them for long spells in the game. I felt that our attacking play was outstanding and would imagine that it's the best going forward they've been for a long time.
Confidence is coming back and it's starting to show on the park, there's still loads for us to work on and we won't take our foot off the pedal or eye of the ball but there are clear signs of improvement and I'm happy to say that the boys are buying into what Dougie and I are trying to do.
On reflection I think since we've taken over, we should probably be six points better off than we are and those points would've had us right back in the play off places.
After the last couple of results we have the momentum so it's good that we've managed to rearrange our game against Dumbarton for this weekend. While disappointed not to be involved in Scottish Cup action the league is our bread and butter so we want to keep the run going and an enforced break would've come at the wrong time for us.
Dumbarton are part-time and down at the bottom end of the table but we all know that the division is so tight that no team can be taken lightly. When I was at East Fife we played Dumbarton in the cup earlier in the season so I know how dangerous they can be, they've added to their squad since then so I'm sure they too will have improved.
The players who weren't involved at United, including Derek Lyle, Chris Higgins and Owen Bell all played for the under 20's on Monday to keep their match fitness up so although they haven't played for the first team they've had a run out to keep them sharp".
We have a couple of players with niggles but hopefully they'll be okay for Saturday. One player who will be missing will be Jamie Hamill as he serves a suspension.
Referee : Steven Kirkland
Assistant 1 : Gavin Harris
Assistant 2 : Chris McTiernan
This will be just the fourth time Mr Kirkland has taken charge of one of our games, the previous three, though, have all been this season and this will be the first away from Palmerston. Our record in those three games is as even as can be with one win, one draw and one defeat, the last game was just three weeks ago when we drew 0-0 with Ayr on New Years eve.
After the 0-0 draw earlier in the season, the head to heads at Dumbarton havent changed much, with the home side still ahead 20 wins to 15 and 12 draws.
We have now gone 3 games in all competitions without a win at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium. The last time we went 4 away games without a win, against Dumbarton, was the 1990s. Two defeats and then two draws were sandwiched between a 2-0 win in 1991 and a 2-1 victory in 1995. Our longest winless streak in the town, against the Sons, is 13 matches, when we recorded just 4 draws and 9 defeats between 1972 and 1988.
Our overall record at Dumbartons new stadium is better with 5 wins, 2 draws (both 0-0) and 2 defeats both of which were last season.