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Petrofac Training Cup previews

>h3< Clyde v Ayr Utd >/h3

>h3< Clyde v Ayr Utd >/h3<

Barry Ferguson faces his first competitive challenge at the helm of a Clyde team which made encouraging progress under predecessor Jim Duffy. Ferguson's task is to carry on the good work and his priority will surely be to steer his side to promotion after last season's near-miss in the play-offs. Ferguson would also like to see his side make an impression in the cup and views the visit of League One Ayr as an ideal early test. He will include new signing Scott Durie while United counterpart Mark Roberts could field as many as four incomers including latest capture Peter Murphy, the former Carlisle and Republic of Ireland defender.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Away win

>h3< Dunfermline Ath v Raith Rovers >/h3<

A Fife derby is given extra spice by the fact that Dunfermline are hosting the cup holders in what is sure to be one of the games of the round. Despite being a division below their visitors, Dunfermline, still a full-time club, will carry no inferiority complex into the game while Rovers know they face a tough start to their title defence. Both sides will feature new faces, notably in central defence where Jonathan Page will make his competitive debut for Dunfermline while Ross Perry, previously with Rangers, is likely to line-up for Raith. The hosts are without Alex Whittle who is suspended along with Calum Elliot and Grant Anderson of Rovers.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Home win

>h3< East Stirlingshire v Falkirk >/h3<

Both sides are under new management with Craig Tully having replaced the departed John Coughlin in the home dugout while the experienced Peter Houston succeeded Gary Holt at Falkirk. Both new men have an array of new personnel at their disposal following a spate of comings and goings. Teenage striker Joe Doyle has now signed for the hosts and will start alongside fellow recruits Connor Greene and Martyn Shields. Jamie MacDonald, the former Hearts goalkeeper, was Houston's landmark signing of the summer and he will form the last line of a defence which also includes former Hibs full-back Alan Maybury.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Away win

>h3< Morton v Spartans >/h3<

No-one at Cappielow needs reminding of their last competitive outing - the embarrassing 10-2 thrashing by Hamilton Academical, a result which sparked the departure of Kenny Shiels. His successor, former club favourite Jim Duffy, may have welcomed a fixture other than this one in which his side are expected to win with some ease. That is precisely how the visit of the Lowland League champions will be viewed in most quarters and Duffy will have his players, including new signings Ricky Lamie and Jordan Allan, warned against complacency. Kevin Motion is suspended for Spartans who also have several injury absentees.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Home win

>h3< Queen of the South v Livingston >/h3<

This may be one of the most evenly contested matches of the round given that these two will again do battle in the Championship, where only a couple of places separated them last term. The home side perhaps start as slight favourites though both sides enjoyed encouraging pre-season campaigns. The hosts' defender Chris Higgins and Livingston midfielder Jason Talbot miss out through suspension. The visitors are also without injured pair Simon Mensing and Keaghan Jacobs, while Queens have doubts over Paul Burns, Mark Kerr and Chris Mitchell. Zander Clark has re-signed on loan from St Johnstone and will start in goal.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Home win

>h3< Stranraer v Dumbarton >/h3<

If any two teams punched above their weight last season it was surely this pair. Stranraer were a revelation in League 1, giving Dunfermline a run for their money and even drawing at Ibrox before settling for third place and the play-offs. Dumbarton were also defying the odds before finishing just four points short of a tilt at the Premiership. Anthony Marenghi is one of three former United players to have signed up for the hosts but Mark Corcoran and Ryan Borris have departed. Veteran defender Mark McLaughlin has been ruled out for the visitors while first choice keeper Jamie Ewings is a doubt but new signing Archie Campbell is in the squad.

>h3< Prediction>/h3< Away win

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