The Pars, League One and the World CupDate: Sunday, 27th Nov 2022
With League One not pausing for the World Cup give the Pars a better chance of promotion ?
In most professional football leagues around the world, the focus has shifted to the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.
When Qatar Came Calling
Indeed, players turned one eye onto the World Cup throughout November – and so did the supporters – as thousands hopped on a Qatar Airways flight and headed to the heat of the Middle East where they are cheering on their nations, as they compete for football’s greatest prize.
However, in Scotland, only the Premiership will pause for the playing of the World Cup with the divisions below deciding months ago that they would push on over the gruelling winter with their respective competitions.
Essentially, this means that 3,500 miles from the glamorous World Cup and away from the warm palm tree-lined City of Doha, there will be a host of teams trying to earn as many points as possible whilst playing in arctic temperatures in Scotland.
Does it hold much appeal to the neutrals? Probably not, with the majority of the world feasting on World Cup action, where the flamboyant Brazilians are just one of many nations preparing for the Last 16 of the Tournament - at just 4/1 in the World Cup Betting Odds to go all the way in the Middle East as of the 9th of November, the Samba Boys – who haven`t won the competition in 20 years – are looking increasingly likely to make it to the latter stages as a minimum.
Brazil`s attack is STACKED for the World Cup 😱🔥 pic.twitter.com/7N91DwcE7p— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 7, 2022
Naturally, with the Samba Boys set to put on a show, half the world away, you can understand why the majority of the world isn`t going to give too much thought to the goings-on in the far north of the United Kingdom. But for Dunfermline Athletic and their fans, this promises to be a month that sets pulses racing.
League 1 - The Race For Promotion
The Pars are, of course, seven points clear at the top of the table and in a rich vein of form following wins against Falkirk and Peterhead in League One and Forfar Athletic in the Scottish Cup in November.
With this being the case, the last thing the Club realistically needs at this stage of the season is a pause in proceedings that could derail the promotion charge they are putting together. Mercifully, the show is poised to go on which will, unquestionably, give Dunfermline a better chance of going up.
The Task Ahead
All in all, the Club will play six games while the rest of the world’s league comes to a standstill, with two of those matches being Cup Ties.
As far as the league goes, the Pars will look to start December in similar form to that of November – which has saw James McPake earn the division`s Manager of the Month Award for the third month running, against Queen of the South.
They will end with an assignment away from home, this time against Kelty Hearts on Christmas Eve, with a 1pm kick-off at New Central Park in the final Fife Derby of 2022.
It’s important to stress that these matches could be the difference between overall promotion or the unthinkable failure at the end of the season. Put another way, if the Pars are able to extend their run of form, then it’s logical to assume that they will extend their lead over the rest of the league’s chasing pack, especially with FC Edinburgh and Falkirk faltering in recent weeks, with Montrose and Alloa Athletic`s inconsistency costing them opportunities to close the gap on Dunfermline at the summit of Scotland`s Third-Tier.
Needless to say, having a safety cushion in terms of a significant lead at the top of the table whilst going into the New Year will help absorb any drop off in form which, ultimately, is bound to happen at some stage. This is why it’s so vital that the SPFL cinch League One campaign carries on and the Pars make hay whilst the sun is shining, or in this case, the snow falling.
There`s No Time Like The Present
Yes, it may be a distant sideshow in the dark winter of the northern hemisphere that the international football community pays very little attention to, but this run of fixtures has the potential to alter the course of Dunfermline Athletic`s future should the Club be able to put the hammer down and seize their moment.
It has, up until this point, been a near faultless run from the Pars who have given themselves the ideal foundation from which to push on. The chips have fallen their way and promotion is there for the taking.
The only thing left for the Club to do is throw everything they can at their opponents over the Festive Season in the hope that when the normal status quo is restored and the world returns from Qatar, they have built up an unassailable lead at the top of the league.