Date: 26th January 2007 at 5:19pm
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It looks like midfielder Mark Kerr has managed to battle his way back to fitness, just in time to face the visit of Dunfermline on Saturday.

Kerr suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rigby Park last weekend, giving manager Craig Levein a selection problem for the clash with bottom of the table Dunfermline.

Although, the 24-year-old has made a remarkable recovery and looks set to take his usual place in United’s midfield for the crucial SPL tie.

The Pars have become a sort of bogey side for Dundee United, ever since the 2 clubs clashed in the race for the Scottish 1st division title all those season ago.

On that occasion it was Dunfermline that came out victors, to win the automatic promotion spot into the SPL – with United having to rely on a last minute Brian Welsh equaliser and Owen Coyle injury-time winner to beat Partick Thistle in a 2-leg playoff and also take their place back in the top division.

When the 2 sides last met at East End Park in November, Craig Levein took charge of United for only his 3rd match and after beating Rangers(2-1) and Kilmarnock(1-0) there should only have been one outcome to the match.

However, a Barry Robson header had put a dominant United side into the lead in the 52nd minute, but a late comeback and goals from Greg Shields and Gary Mason gave Dunfermline a shock 2-1 victory – which has been their only SPL win since.

Vital Quotes:

“It’s a massive game, for both teams, to be honest. Nothing’s decided at this time of year, there’s no doubt about that,” said Dundee United manager Craig Levein.

“I’m pretty sure both teams are looking at it as a vital match, to try and win – for us to get up the table, away from any danger whatsoever, and for Dunfermline to try and claw themselves closer to the rest of the pack.”

“I’ve watched Dunfermline quite a lot recently. The only thing is that the team changes that much that it’s difficult to tell what team they’ll put out tomorrow.”

“They’ve got a lot of players coming back from injury, so that would indicate that they could change again.”

“I know that Burchill and Simmons are 2 guys who will be available. Jim McIntyre made an appearance last week for a short period of time. So there’s 3 very important players for them that will be available.”

“They are fighting for their lives, pretty football might go out the window.”

Dundee Utd Team News:

Captain Barry Robson is still suspended from the match, but this will be the last of his 3-game suspension and he will be available for United’s next league match against St Mirren at Love Street.

Steven Robb has almost recovered from a hamstring injury, but wont feature until next week’s Scottish Cup match against Caley Thistle at the earliest.

Since returning from an ankle injury, joint top scorer Noel Hunt has only featured in one match – coming on as a sub for Collin Samuel in the 2nd half at Ibrox – but is expected to play some part in the game on Saturday.

“Barry Robson’s not involved, Steven Robb is fit now but he’s just coming back from this hamstring problem – so it will be next week before he’s include in any squads,” admitted Levein.

“I would suggest that if we don’t have any problems tomorrow, then for the next match we will have everybody back, which is quite pleasing.”

“Mark Kerr had a problem last week and had to come off. He has trained again today and although he’s a little bit sore, but I think the kind of lad he is we can strap him up and send him out there.”

“Hunt is coming back as well, so from my point of views it’s not too bad at all.”

Player to watch: Jon Daly

Jon Daly was one of Craig Levein’s recent signings from Hartlepool, but the striker is yet to find the net for his new club.

However, once he managed to score once, it should be like the flood gates opening and United supporters are hoping the Irish attacker finds the net numerous times on Saturday.

Dunfermline Team News:

Dunfermline have just signed United fan Stephen Glass on-loan until the end of the season and have McIntyre, Burchill and Simmons returning from injury.

Player to watch: Manager Stephen Kenny

In the last match at East End Park, it was an inspired substitution from Dunfermline’s new manager that won them the match.

Kenny brought on Scott Muirhead and Frederic Daquin in the 60th minute, for Stephen Simmons and Owen Morrison respectively, and from that stage Dunfermline started to haul themselves back into the match.

Except similar clever tactical changes to have an impact on the match at Tannadice this weekend.

Match Facts & Stats

Last 5 meetings:

18th November 2006, SPL
Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Dundee United
Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline
Referee: Alan Freeland
Attendance: 6,129
Barry Robson (52mins, Dundee Utd)
Greg Shields (76mins, Dunfermline)
Gary Mason (89mins, Dunfermline)

19th August 2006, SPL
Dundee United 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic
Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee
Referee: Mike Tumilty
Attendance: 6,171

2nd May 2006, SPL
Dundee United 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic
Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee
Referee: Craig Thomson
Attendance: 5,034
Frederic Daquin (78mins, Dunfermline)

25th February 2006, SPL
Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Dundee United
Venue: East End Park, Dunfermline
Referee: : John Underhill
Attendance: 4,694
Garry Kenneth (7mins, Dundee Utd)
Mark Burchill (14mins, Dunfermline)

20th December 2005, SPL
Dundee United 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic
Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee
Referee: Steve Conroy
Attendance: 5,889
Collin Samuel (25mins, Dundee Utd)
Scott Wilson (31mins, Dunfermline)
Barry Robson (41mins, Dundee Utd)

Next Fixtures:

Caley Thistle v Dundee United (3rd February 2007)
Dunfermline v Hearts (3rd February 2007)

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3 Replies to “A Vital Win For Both Clubs”

  • Pretty football MIGHT go out the window? I’d say thats gauranteed, with Dunfermline probably playing with 10 men behind the ball for most of the match!

  • I predict that Jon Daly will score his first goal for Dundee United, probably around the 50 minute mark – but I cant predict whether United will go on to win or not!!!

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