Scottish Championship 2019/20 Preview – Dunfermline Athletic

I remember watching Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup last year and then seeing them dismantle us at Tannadice on the opening day of the league season. Based on that evidence I thought that they were serious contenders for the title and I really enjoyed watching the system they used in those early games (although that might have been more to do with how dull our own tactics were).

Things started to fall apart fairly quickly after that promising start and despite a wonderful run of form in February/March the season flirted with disaster as they floated around the relegation and playoff spots. They were the victims of a very competitive league and should be used as a case study for what happens when a team in the Championship loses confidence and momentum.

This season they have ripped it all up and started over with a new, youth orientated, plan that has been forced upon them in some ways due to budget cuts. Whatever happens it will be an interesting watch…

Transfers In – Gabby McGill (Middlesbrough), Euan Murray (Raith Rovers), Kevin Nisbet (Raith Rovers), Paul Paton (Falkirk), Kyle Turner (Stranraer), Josh Coley (Norwich City, loan), Matty Bowman (Scarborough Athletic), Aaron Comrie (St. Johnstone), Ryan Dow (Peterhead), Josh Edwards (Airdrieonians), Tom Lang (Clyde)

Transfers Out – Robbie Muirhead (Morton), Ryan Williamson (Partick Thistle), Callum Smith (Airdrieonians, loan), Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen, end of loan), Ryan Blair (Swansea City, end of loan), Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee, end of loan), James Vincent (Dundee, end of loan), Sean Murdoch (retired), Aidan Connolly (Falkirk), James Craigen (Fylde), Mark Durnan (Falkirk), Kallum Higginbotham (Real Kashmir), Myles Hippolyte (Yeovil Town), Jackson Longridge (Bradford City), Brandon Luke (Stenhousemuir),  Louis Longridge, Lee Robinson

Transfer Window Success? – Dunfermline’s new policy of signing younger players with something to prove is a risk and one that could fail if they don’t hit the ground running. The budget has been stripped back and this feels like the early stages of a new era at East End Park. Some big decisions have been made by the board so it will be very interesting to see how things pan out. For me I would still want a bit more experience in the side because they only really have two or three ‘veterans’ to help guide the younger players.

They have at least shown enough in pre-season to suggest that they have a good balance in the squad and that they are capable of something Dunfermline lacked last season – scoring goals. At the moment it looks like Dunfermline will be reliant on creativity and hitting teams with pace. Regardless of how it pans out we will at least be guaranteed excitement and entertainment any time Dunfermline take to the pitch.

The Manager – Last season was a bit of a free hit for Stevie Crawford having taken the job in January. It looks like he is now at the helm of his own squad which will excite him. The truth is we don’t really know what kind of career Crawford will have or if he is someone who can be truly trusted as a manager but he now has the opportunity to prove his worth with his own players and his own plan.

The Hope – With Dunfermline starting a brand new project the fans will just hope that the new transfer policy works and that the young players brought in can develop quickly. After a bit of a ‘meh’ couple of years in the club’s recent history it is maybe a good thing that there is some intrigue and excitement at the new talent heading to East End Park. The worry will be if they get off to a poor start and struggle to recover. Lack of experience in the squad could be an issue but they have some exciting young talent in their ranks.

A sneaky playoff spot would be a success for Dunfermline this year. Looking at the competition they might struggle to get beyond 5th but with youngsters you never know…

Look Out For – Of all the summer signings the one that would excite me the most is young midfielder Kyle Turner. He is one of the country’s top young prospects and he probably had many different options this summer.

Turner has already shown in pre-season and in the Betfred that he is capable of great things so he, along with two or three others in the division, will see this season as an opportunity to really make a name for himself. At the moment he is my pick for young player of the year in the division.

Transfer and club information correct as of 30th July 2019