First Division: Negative headlines forgotten as Pars focus on bitter derby rivalry

Dunfermline aim to put a week of headlines on cash problems and potential strikes by players behind them and see off Falkirk in what is usually a hotly contested local derby.

Assistant manager Gerry McCabe said: “It has not been a great time as we have seen a lot of negative headlines, but now we can get back to doing what we do best, which is playing football.

“This is a huge game and one that the fans are very passionate about and we really want the win after a defeat and a draw in our last couple of outings. After beating Partick in the Scottish Cup we had been looking to kick on but it did not happen. However, it can now.”

Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness after nearly three weeks out with an injured ankle. However, centre-back Callum Morris is definitely out as he serves the second game of a two-match ban.

Saturday’s 4-1 success over Airdrie United made it four wins in a row for Falkirk and Technical Director Alex Smith said: “This is a huge game for any squad and for our young squad it is a game where they will learn a lot. There will be a passionate atmosphere and we are playing a good side but we are going into it with a bit of momentum behind us so we can be confident.”

Manager Steven Pressley has a suspension-free and fully-fit squad to choose from as Falkirk look for their first win over Dunfermline in nearly six years.

Hamilton Accies manager Billy Reid is spoiled for choice when Airdrie visit as Jonathan Page returns after suspension and on-loan Steven May, who was not allowed to play by 
St Johnstone in the 3-1 Scottish Cup success over Dumbarton on Monday night, is also available. However, the injured Stephen Hendrie, Jon McShane and 
Kieran Millar remain absent.

Airdrie have targeted a second win of the season at New Douglas Park and manager Jimmy Boyle will let goalkeeper Grant Adam decide if he wants to play after he missed Saturday’s 4-1 defeat by Falkirk as he was attending the funeral of his father. Nathan Blockley is out after being dismissed against the Bairns, Cameron MacDonald remains out with a hamstring problem and Grant Evans, Gavin Griffin, Jack Boyle and Willie McLaren are injury doubts.

Partick Thistle will be looking to make it nine wins out of nine at Firhill when fellow title chasers Morton visit.

Defender Stephen O’Donnell remains doubtful due to an ankle injury and although goalkeeper Scott Fox is close to a 
return after six weeks out with 
a thigh strain, manager Jackie McNamara is likely to keep short-term signing Graeme Smith between the sticks.

Morton manager Allan Moore is looking for a win at Firhill to loudly announce his side’s title credentials as he explained: “We have experienced players that will enjoy a game like this.

“Getting a win would pull us level and really announce that we are serious title challengers.

“We were the first side to defeat Thistle in the league this season and it would be great to do it again. We scored six against Turriff in the Scottish Cup last Monday but we can improve on that performance.”

Moore added, “We will need to improve on it if we are to be the first to win at Firhill.”

Moore gave Tony Wallace, Kyle Wilkie, Archie Campbell and Peter MacDonald some game time at the weekend in a friendly against junior side Pollok that ended 2-2 and they are included for the trip to Firhill. However, Kevin Rutkiewicz and Steven Stirling remain out.

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