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SPFL Championship Weekend Preview: Saturday 21st December 2013

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The turkey is defrosting nicely in the fridge and all the presents will soon be wrapped up and under the tree but what is likely to be the in amongst the cracking fixtures just before Christmas?

Match of the Day

Alloa Athletic v Dundee

It is probably about time to give the Wasps credit for their progress and admit they could possibly be in the play offs. Their results demand it and their performances merit it. They have been good and Paul Hartley has a decent fixture in front of him as he welcomes a Dundee side that lost last weekend and fell down from top spot. Dundee have the possibility of the return of Craig Beattie whilst Stephen O’Donnell will not be risked on the artificial surface. Hartley welcomes back both Graeme Holmes and Iain Flannigan whilst the revolving loan door saw Alex Salmon back to Carlisle but Liam Caddis in from St Johnstone. This ought to be an away win with John Brown getting his team up top again but I am not so sure. Alloa will at least make it difficult for the Dees and I reckon it could be an odd goal that separates them.

Dumbarton v Hamilton Academical has a very lucky away side that caught a draw last weekend and slipped back to top spot. They will want to stay there and are without Jon Routledge and Alex Neil whilst Michael Devlin, Stephen Hendrie and Eamonn Brophy are fit so they might just manage it. Jesus Garcia Tena – he of the wonder goal – has signed a contract extension so there is plenty to be confident about down New Douglas Park way. The Sons lost away to Raith last weekend and Ian Murray has hinted at some January squad movements so his squad may well be going on a road trip? Doubts surround Chris Turner and Jordan Kirkpatrick whilst Scott Agnew is off to see a specialist and won’t feature. Dumbarton need some points or they will start to struggle at the wrong time but I reckon Ian Murray is right – his squad needs strengthening – and it means they may not make it today. Raith Rovers v Cowdenbeath has a home side with no Joe Cardle, David McGurn, Paul Watson or Grant Anderson as they attempt to build on their 2-1 home win last week against Dumbarton. The Blue Brazil come in with doubts over Jon Robertson and Nat Wedderburn after their 2-1 win last weekend away to Dundee. It was just the confidence boost Jimmy Nichol’s side needed and it might be enough to make this tie an away win.

Greenock Morton v Falkirk will see Kenny Shiels watching again from the stand as he is completing a touchline ban but he should see Kabba-Modou Cham and Reece Hands play whilst Craig Reid, David O’Brien, Jonathon Page and Tony Wallace are out. They lost last weekend to Alloa Athletic so Shiels will want to make a much better impression on the fans. Grant Holt is brimming with confidence as only Thomas Grant will be missing though his side’s game was abandoned last weekend in Dumfries and he wants to get back to some action. It could go either way as we see how Shiels shores up the leaky defence of the Morton side and I reckon that the Greenock side may well have pulled off the master stroke Inverness could rue. Finally Queen of the South v Livingston will begin with a minute’s silence in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster. I believe it could end with an away win. The Dumfries side had their game abandoned last weekend and will go into this one with Michael Paton hopeful, Derek Young out and Ian McShane having signed a contract extension. Livingston only have Mike Mumpaya out and I reckon John McGlynn will take the honours.

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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