Post-transfer window Dundee United feel they’re beginning to build momentum in their quest for a return to the top flight after three wins from three.
After a hard-fought 1-0 win at Queen of the South, Robbie Neilson’s men have put themselves in a good position within touching distance of the top two, Ayr and Ross County.
This, though, has been the time of the season when the Tangerines’ promotion attempt goes pear-shaped and form tumbles in the last two campaigns.
This Saturday sees current boss Robbie Neilson up against a man who knows that only too well.
Falkirk gaffer Ray McKinnon saw his United team in 2017 falter around this time, allowing Hibs to run away with the title, before running out of gas in the play-off final.
Robbie’s task is to avoid a repeat of that – with predecessor Csaba Laszlo also suffering a similar downturn in fortunes – by keeping their momentum going.
It won’t be easy against McKinnon’s new side with the recent ‘Rayvolution’ of Falkirk’s squad seeing them become one of the form teams in the Championship after picking up 11 points from the last 15 available.
So where will the game be won and lost for the current United gaffer and one of his predecessors?
Calum Butcher v Paul Paton
Where else to start but what promises to be one of the tastiest battles of the day.
Former midfield partners Butcher and Paton, neither shrinking violets by any stretch, are set to face off for the first time since playing together under Jackie McNamara – should Butcher return after his suspension.
Paton has been a key figure at Falkirk, helping them rise from the relegation spots in recent weeks.
Expect no quarter given by either.
Peter Pawlett v Paul Dixon
Another former United man Dixon is in the Bairns’ ranks after signing in January.
He’s likely to come up against United dangerman Pawlett at some point, even if the forward doesn’t start on the right as he’s known to drift.
‘Dicker’ is yet to taste defeat in his five matches at Falkirk while Pawlett has three wins from three in Tangerine – one of those records will end this Saturday.
Ian Harkes v Ian McShane
The battle of the Ians could be an intriguing one in midfield.
American Harkes has quickly become a fans’ favourite at Tannadice and has shown experience beyond his years in his short time at the club.
Like Harkes, McShane is a technical player who can provide quality on the ball.
Whoever comes out on top will go a long way to getting a vital result for their team.
Freddy Frans v Zak Rudden
The artificial pitch at Falkirk may well see Mark Reynolds again miss out due to his injury history while Mark Connolly is also fighting an injury problem.
Frans, meanwhile, stepped in at Queen of the South and put on a Man-of-the-Match performance in central defence.
He’ll have to be on his game again, alongside Rachid Bouhenna, to keep Falkirk dangerman Rudden quiet.
The on-loan Rangers striker has scored nine in 19 for the Bairns this season, with three in his last five.
Nicky Clark v Falkirk defence
Clark is United’s form man at the moment with goals in his last two outings winning both games at St Mirren and Queen of the South.
He’s looking match sharp for the first time in Tangerine and the Falkirk backline will have to be wary.
On loan William Edjenguele can’t play against his parent side so whoever comes in will have their hands full with the speedy striker.