PARS boss Allan Johnston says he expects a response from a "reeling" Dundee United this weekend.

But he believes his team will go into the match full of confidence as they bid to end a dismal run of results against the Tannadice side.

While Dunfermline have collected three successive wins - with two clean sheets to boot - Csaba Laszlo's United travel to East End on the back of a 6-1 thrashing by Falkirk on Saturday.

The result allowed top of the table St Mirren to extend their advantage to six points while third-placed Athletic cut the gap to the Arabs to seven.

Johnston has been pleased with his team's recent upturn in form but is wary of the threat posed by a United outfit that are unbeaten in their last eight meetings with the Pars.

"United will obviously be reeling from the result at the weekend and I’m sure they’ll want to respond but we’re at home and have got to go and try and get three points, he said.

“You get freak results like that – we’ve been on the receiving end of that ourselves – but we’ve got to try and take advantage of that and make sure we start on the front foot. Hopefully, it’s a great atmosphere, similar to the Falkirk game, and that’ll push us forward to get the result we need.

“It’s been a good start so far to the New Year and I hope we’ve turned a corner. The players have worked really hard; sometimes when you’re down there and results aren’t going your way, it’s easy to hide a wee bit, but they’ve shown a bit of character to work even harder to put it right.

"It's going to be a tough test. I'm sure they'll be dying to show a reaction after a result like that but we know ourselves it happens.

"They have a lot of good players still and they've obviously strengthened as well. They've brought in a couple of players like Craig Slater, who I know really well and is a good play.

"They've got a lot of good players but so have we. We're playing at home, have got a good record at home and want to make sure we continue that."

After an indifferent second quarter of the campaign, Dunfermline have opened 2018 well and Johnston was full of praise for his players.

"We knew we had to put a run of results together and it's obviously pleasing the way the boys have done that," he continued.

"It's not easy to win games in this league; you look at the Falkirk result at the weekend and it shows you how tight it is.

"We've not been far away but just getting that first win breeds that wee bit of confidence, gets everybody expecting to win again and it's a good feeling.

"We've just got to try and keep that momentum going. We know we've got hard games coming up but it's about how you approach it and, to be fair, the boys are going into the game with a lot of confidence.

"The fans are getting right behind the players as well, which makes a massive difference."

Joe Cardle is available to feature this weekend and in the Scottish Cup against Morton the following week, but will thereafter serve a one-game ban after accumulating six bookings.