2017/18 Preview – Dunfermline

Allan Johnston’s men have had more surgery to it than he would have liked this summer, I suspect, but he must be happy with the progress of his squad building so far.

After losing key figures in Andy Geggan, Rhys McCabe and Michael Moffat, it was always going to be difficult for the Pars to regroup quickly. With Paul McMullan also not retruning after his loan spell ended, with the return of John Herron as of yet not materialising then more positions needed to be filled than anticipated by the East End Park boss, I suggest.

The signing of Cammy Gill and the extension of Sean Murdoch on contracts until 2019 shows the ambition of the club whle also managing to convince key defensive duo Lee Ashcroft and new club captain Callum Morris to stay. The addition of Jean-Yves M’Voto adds a different dimension with an even more domineering physical presence being in and around the squad.

When you look at the midfield, and this is the main are of concern right now, I suspect. With Michael Paton more naturally a winger, I expect at least one more central midfielder to be brought in by Johnston. Nat Wedderburn gives the defensive protection while Dean Shiels will add a goalscoring threat and a more creative cutting edge than in the past, perhaps, for the Pars.

Up front, Nicky Clark look an exciting partnership while Callum Smith seems to be making a name for himself at the beginning of this campaign and may force his way into the first-team plans as the season progresses. Another striking option – again to provide cover as well as competition for places – looks set to be brought in with Johnston presumably looking for a different option to his more direct and speedier strikers available to him right now.

In conclusion, the Pars have a strong – but thin – squad right now. With a couple of additions in the right areas then I see no reason why Dunfermline can’t be up the top end of the Championship and challenging for promotion this season via the play-offs.

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