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Dejected sides likely to take time to click; FALKIRK v DUNDEE UNITED SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE SETANTA SPORTS 1 7.45pm.

Byline: By Ian Wilkerson

THERE could be plenty of tension around Falkirk Stadium tonight and that hardly points to a thriller between the Bairns and Dundee United, both of whom have let things slip of late.

John Hughes's side are looking over their shoulders as basement boys Inverness trail them by just two points and they could have eased some pressure by converting one of the chances they created in a dismal 0-0 draw at Hibs on Saturday.

The Arabs, meanwhile, have allowed Hearts to take the initiative in the race for third spot in the SPL, which would guarantee a place in next season's Europa League.

A solitary victory in seven matches has left Craig Levein's side five points behind the Jambos and they cannot afford to let many more slip away.

One of the reasons given for their recent blip is the departure of midfielder Willo Flood to Celtic, but it could be that after recovering from a poor start to move swiftly up the table, they're just having problems in maintaining a consistent level of performance.

Goals should certainly be thin on the ground and it is no surprise to see two or fewer only 4-6 as just one of the last seven meetings between the two has eclipsed such a total.

But the better way to go would be for the first goal to arrive after the 27th minute. United have scored just two first-half goals in their last 11 SPL encounters and Falkirk, who have gained one victory from their last 13 outings, have scored more than once on just one occasion in their last 17 matches.

These are two teams that are in poor form, have plenty to lose and are low on confidence so the clash could take quite a while to get going.

Recommendation

First goal after 27th minute

2pts evens Stan James, Totesport

TEAM NEWS

Falkirk

Jackie McNamara and Neil McCann are both set to miss out through injury, while defender Gerard Aafjes (knee) and Kevin McBride (back) both remain sidelined.

Dundee United

James Wesolowski faces a late fitness test on his hamstring after making his return on Saturday against Hearts from a broken ankle, but Scott Robertson is still set to miss out through injury.

2008-09 STATS

Falkirk Dundee Utd

6 Points from last five league games 5

7 Points from last ten league games 11

WLdWDLLDWL Last ten homes/aways (latest on right) WdDLWWdDLD

1.0 Average goals scored in home/away league games 1.2

1.1 Average goals conceded in home/away league games 1.3

4.1 Average corners gained 6.0

5.5 Average corners conceded 4.5

4.5 Average corners gained home/away 4.8

5.0 Average corners conceded home/away 5.1

23.5 Average bookings points (10 per yellow, 25 per red) 19.0
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 3, 2009
Words:474
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