DUNFERMLINE boss Stevie Crawford hopes that playing at their home away from home this afternoon can help extend their winning start to the campaign

But he has cautioned his in-form stars that Alloa Athletic will provide a tough examination of their early season credentials - even if the squad he feels he has improved have become accustomed to their Indodrill Stadium pitch.

In July, both clubs announced that, in what they said was a first for Scottish football, they had reached a COVID-19 partnership, with the Pars using the Clackmannanshire side's ground for training.

They have access to separate changing facilities and storage, in a 'bio-safe' environment, while there is a reciprocal agreement for the clubs to host each other's first team fixtures if either East End Park or the Indodrill is out of commission.

The two clubs were also set review other costs associated with the pandemic that they could share, with Athletic chairman Ross McArthur stating that the venture would be "of value to both clubs moving forward".

On the pitch, working there on a daily basis will have given the Pars players a familiarity with the Wasps' artificial surface, on which they have won twice in their last three visits, albeit losing on their previous in November.

Peter Grant's side, who opened their campaign with a narrow loss at Greenock Morton on Saturday, were however unbeaten in three league and cup matches at East End last term – winning two of them – so Crawford is well aware of the challenge facing his team.

When asked if it would feel like a home game, he laughed: "Ask me that after the game!

"The surroundings are going to be; we've gone all our pre-season there. It's one of those things you have to overcome. There's different surfaces that you'll play on in the league so, obviously training there on a daily basis will help, but no way does it guarantee you're going to go and win the game.

"It's about applying ourselves properly, trying to take advantage of training at Alloa and playing the surface the way we know it does during training if it's a drier day, or if it's got a slickness on it if it's been raining or whatever.

"There are advantages from training on it that can hopefully help us come Saturday.

"Alloa's going to be a difficult game. Peter likes his players to have a belief to take the ball to feet, play passing football, they're creative and technically they're very good players, so they'll ask questions of us.

"We've got to make sure we're organised out of possession and then ask our players to go and be creative and cause them bother as well.

"Every game's got its different challenges, whether it's Alloa, whether we're playing Arbroath, Hearts, Dundee, Ayr United – I could go right through. That's why I think it's quite an exciting league to be involved in."

Crawford, who has a full squad to choose from, added: "You have to adapt to different games and I think that's what we tried to address in the summer with the boys we brought in. There's a different edge to us this year that we can change up; I've got players that can play in a number of positions and play in a different manner.

"We can adapt to certain opposition as well so it's trying to get that balance right of a side that's settled, but also a side that's going to win games of football.

"When I came into the job, it wasn't my squad. I fully believe over the transfer windows we've got better, we've got stronger, and I've openly had conversations with players that we've brought in this year that we want to be challenging at the top end of the table."