The clash between Dumbarton and Queen of the South will go a long way towards determining the Championship’s final promotion play-off spot. A fortnight ago, Queens were six points ahead of the Sons, but two consecutive defeats for Jim McIntyre’s men and two wins in a row for Ian Murray’s side have left the sides level on points, with the Doonhamers ahead only on goal difference. Dumbarton are the top scoring side in the division with 60 goals, but only Cowdenbeath and Greenock Morton have conceded more. Their opponents do not have quite as potent an attack, but they have conceded the fewest goals of any side outside the top three.
Ian Murray’s boys have been in superb form since the turn of the year, taking 27 points from 15 matches – only Falkirk have collected more. However, Queens are not too far behind them, with 26 points from their 16 games in 2014. They’ve also won each of their last four away matches against the Sons, a run which stretches back to 1996 and covers matches at Boghead and the Bet Butler Stadium. Dumbarton’s last home win over Queen of the South came way back in February 1992.
Elsewhere, Hamilton Academical will be looking to keep up the pressure at the top of the table when they host Alloa Athletic. The Accies are unbeaten in their last ten league matches, but have slipped behind Dundee as a result of draws in each of their last three matches. They haven’t drawn four league matches in a row since November-December 2006. Alloa can ensure their Championship safety with a victory, but they’ve only won three of their last 17 matches, and two of those came against Morton. The Wasps have, however, won on each of their last three league visits to New Douglas Park and have taken six points from a possible nine against the Accies this season.
Airdrieonians host East Fife in a huge match at the bottom of the table, with the away side realistically needing a victory to give themselves a chance of avoiding the relegation play-off. Airdrie have suffered just one defeat in their last 13 league games, and that came against champions Rangers. East Fife won on their last trip to Airdrie back in December, but since then they have just four wins in 17. However, they have picked up back-to-back away wins and will be looking to make it three-in-a-row in the league for the first time in over two years. These are the two lowest scoring sides in the division, with East Fife having managed just 28 goals while Airdrie have netted 41. It should therefore come as little surprise that the three matches between the sides this season have featured just five goals. East Fife have picked up two wins and a draw in those matches, and can also take confidence from their recent record at the Excelsior Stadium – they have suffered just one defeat in their last five visits.
The clash between Stranraer and Brechin City at Stair Park will have ramifications at both ends of the table as the hosts aim to nail down a play-off spot while their visitors try to pull away from the relegation battle. Steve Aitken’s side are in miserable form with just three wins in their last 15 matches and none in their last seven, but they remain three points ahead of Stenhousemuir in fifth. Brechin collected just four points from nine matches in February and March, but results have picked up in April with a win at home to Ayr United and a draw away to Airdrie so far this month. Stranraer have the second best home defensive record in the league behind Rangers, while Brechin have the second worst away defensive record, with only Arbroath having conceded more goals. The Blues are unbeaten in their last six matches against Brechin, including three wins and a draw already this season.
Berwick Rangers and East Stirlingshire will both be looking to keep their slim play-off chances alive when they meet at Shielfield. Berwick have won five of their six home matches since Colin Cameron took over, scoring 18 goals in the process. The Shire have suffered three consecutive away defeats, and have just two wins in their last 11 on the road. John Coughlin’s men have failed to score in 37.5 per cent of their away matches, which is the joint worst record in the league (along with Queen’s Park). On top of that, their hosts have kept ten clean sheets in the league this season, which is the joint best in the division alongside champions Peterhead. Berwick have also won each of their last three home matches against the Shire without conceding a single goal.
Both sides will also have an eye on the result from Links Park, where Clyde visit Montrose. The Bully Wee have looked stick-ons for the play-offs for most of this season, but after suffering three defeats in their last four they may be looking anxiously over their shoulders. Montrose have nothing left to play for, and have picked up just four wins in their last 18 matches. Goals may be at a premium in this one, with Montrose’s home games featuring just 40 goals, while Clyde’s away matches have had just 38 – both tallies are the lowest in the division.