So, after a couple of weeks off, the match previews and reviews return! It is safe to say that things are pretty positive right now and there is a genuine belief within the fans that this could be our title…
It is important to not get too carried away but this is certainly the best it has felt in a few years and we will, regardless of results over the next few fixtures, be well equipped for an assault on the league championship or the playoffs.
What is really important is that we continue to grind out results. One noticeable difference in recent weeks has been the physical and mental toughness that we have long lacked. This United side have a determination and strength about them and over anything else we will need that in these remaining games.
Saturday’s trip to Falkirk is as tough as it will get given the form McKinnon’s side have shown since the turn of the year. It is also our final scheduled league game on an artificial surface so we are still probably going to have to allow one or two to sit out. We welcome back Calum Butcher and hopefully we will see Mark Connolly return. It would also be good to have Cammy Smith back in the starting eleven after his slight injury issue at the tail end of last week.
United will take another great backing to Falkirk and the big difference since the close of the January window has been the swell of positivity and unity amongst the support. The travelling fans were outstanding in Paisley and they backed the team at Palmerston. Our players will need that passion and that enthusiasm to yet again spur the team on and build on the momentum we have. It is a tight turnaround after the Falkirk match as we face Inverness next Tuesday so to have a good performance will mean the atmosphere facing Caley at Tannadice next week in the our double header will be fantastic.
One other change to the United setup in the last fortnight has been the use of first-team players in reserve matches. We have the squad capable of doing that but under the previous management we only really used youth and development players. With us giving game time to first-team squad members it allows us to keep people match-sharp, confident and ready to step in when needed.
My team to face Falkirk…
Looking at who we have available I think it should be the case that Robson keeps his place simply due to form. We also have a question to answer in the middle of the defence but for me Bouhenna has more technical ability than Frans so if we are to be without Reynolds I would give him the nod (although I think Neilson favours Frans).
It is clear that Butcher needs to come back in to offer us that physical presence and if Cammy Smith is fit then I would say that the front four above is our first choice going forward. That still leaves Sow, Nesbitt and McMullan as our options from the bench. Elsewhere we should be hopeful that Fyvie is continuing his fitness work but wouldn’t be risked on the artificial surface. Both Gomis and Stanton remain as backup players.
Key Player(s) – This will be a tough game but I think if we can dominate the midfield then we should be able to come through with a victory. We will benefit from Butcher returning but Ian Harkes is the player on-form at the moment. He has been a revelation in his last three appearances and he is brimming with confidence right now.
View From The Opposition – It has been a pretty amazing turnaround in 2019 for Ray McKinnon. He rolled the dice in January by signing a huge number of players but it was needed and it seems to have worked. they have become difficult to beat and they have high spirits given their recent form.
The only downside for Falkirk fans at the moment is the form of their direct rivals, Partick Thistle. Both teams have become the form teams in the division and they have managed to drag others into the relegation battle.
CURRENT FORM (LAST FOUR LEAGUE GAMES) –
United – 1-0 Win vs Dunfermline (H), 1-0 Loss vs Ayr United (A), 2-1 Win vs Morton (H), 1-0 Win vs Queen of the South
Falkirk – 1-1 Draw vs Partick (A), 2-2 Draw vs Inverness (H), 3-0 Win vs Queen of the South (H), 2-1 Win vs Alloa (A)
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE –