PARS boss Allan Johnston has challenged his team to raise their game to keep their play-off hopes alive.

After having three games called off due to last week's extreme weather in the space of a week, Dunfermline will return to action with a testing trip to leaders St Mirren tomorrow.

In what looks set to be a crucial period in their campaign, the game in Paisley is quickly followed by the visits of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, on Tuesday, and Morton next Saturday before a trip to Brechin City three days after that.

Athletic, who have been training at Ravenscraig this week with their regular base at Kelty Hearts unplayable, take on a Buddies team who are a whopping 22 points ahead of them in the table.

It will be the fourth away match in a row for a Pars side that are, more importantly, five points adrift of Dundee United, who have played two games less.

They're a further point away from Morton as the chase for the play-offs races towards the final straight, and Johnston has urged his players to produce their top form from here on in.

"When you look at the majority of the teams in this league, I don’t think anybody’s miles ahead of us,” he commented.

"The most frustrating thing is the points difference between the two teams (Pars and Saints), yet there's not been much between us when we've played. But they've been better over the course of the season and had that bit more consistency.

"We know how important every game is and, if we can play at our best, managed to produce a good performance and three points, that can help us build momentum.

"We need to raise our game and take it to a level above what it has been recently.

"Draws aren't good enough and the boys know that. We need to win more games and that's probably been our downfall this season.

"It would be a big boost if we could go there and get a result, and we're more than capable."

Dunfermline's last home match was against the Buddies way back at the end of January, and the manager is looking forward to home comforts over the coming week.

He added: "It makes a difference getting teams to East End Park.
"Hopefully, we can get the fans right behind us and get the wins we require."

Johnston added that, aside from long-term injury absentees Sean Murdoch and Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton is likely to be the only player out for tomorrow's game.