Inverness travel to Dundee to take on faltering Dundee United at Tannadice on the back of three successive clean sheets, the Arabs finding the going tougher than their big spending board might have thought.
The League campaign kicked off for both clubs back in August when the two sides met at the Caledonian Stadium on matchday one. That game was settled by a softish penalty award when Paul McMullen went down under a challenge in the box. He picked himself up and took the spot kick, scoring the only goal of the game. In all honesty, there was little between the sides other than that goal and some defensive errors from Inverness that gave United further opportunities. It's been downhill for Inverness since then with only one league win, and that against bottom club Brechin. Three draws interspersed with defeats have given us a meagre six points out of a possible twenty-seven. That's relegation form in any division. Recent results have been slightly more encouraging though and the clean sheets breed confidence.
The first round of games have been played in the Championship and Inverness find themselves in second bottom place. However there were signs at Falkirk that maybe some progress has been made and a third clean sheet in a row gives the team something to build on. On top of that, we were much more prominent in attack and assured in midfield. The downside was the familiar lack of a cutting edge. Plenty of chances were created, but none taken, and that needs to change soon or we will be cut adrift at the wrong end of the table.
The Arabs suffered a 2-0 defeat at Livingston last week, after two good wins over Dunfermline and Morton. They drew with Falkirk and Dumbarton prior to that when they would have been looking to take full points from those games. The defeat at Livingston was their first in seven games. Despite recruiting well over the summer, it's still a tough league to stamp your authority on.
Although United have under performed in some games, they still sit at the right end of the table, in fourth place, four points behind leaders St Mirren and a massive eleven points ahead of second bottom Inverness. Both sides have scored ten Championship goals, but United's defence are six better off than us despite our recent upgrade in defence.
Inverness are without Aaron Doran, Collin Seedorf, Zak Elbouzedi, big Susan and Owain Fon Williams. Gary Warren and Charlie Trafford might be included in the squad, although both will be sporting hand protection after suffering damaged thumbs. Injuries seem to be hindering our progress once more although Coll Donaldson has shown some form since his introduction at center back.
United have a doubt in Dutchman Jordie Briels with a hip injury. Scott Fraser could make the squad after showing no adverse signs on his return to full training, but is not yet ready for the rigours of a match. Paul Quinn is available. Manager Ray McKinnon expects a tough game with Inverness starting to get to grips with life in the Championship, pointing to the three clean sheets in the last three games.
tm4tj prediction:- It's a tough place to go to at the best of times, but when your at an all time low then it becomes a tremendous weight on your shoulders and it will be like running in treacle. I'm heartened by the clean sheets, but the lack of a cutting edge counteracts that. I didn't think there was too much between the sides in the opening game, but maybe United afforded us too much respect and sat in a bit. I fully expect a torrid afternoon and unless we have discovered a way to score goals, then a goalless draw is our best bet for a point. I'm not too confident about this one though and we might have to take one on the chin at Tannadice. Home win for me.
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