After a winless start to the League campaign, Dunfermline have a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup fixture this weekend that, depending on your opinion, is either a welcome distraction from the Championship and a chance to give certain players some game time, or a pointless game that we could do without and instead concentrate on the next League match, at home to Inverness a week on Saturday.
Visitors Alloa, who sit 2 places and 2 points above Dunfermline in the Championship table, knocked the Pars out of last season's Challenge Cup, at East End Park, winning a penalty shoot-out after the game ended 2-2. Since then, both clubs have changed managers for different reasons and both will go into the game tomorrow knowing that no matter the merits of the competition, it does represent a chance of winning a trophy. Alloa won the Challenge Cup in 1999, while the closest the Pars came was in 2007, losing in the final to St Johnstone.
In the build up to tomorrow's game, Stevie Crawford hinted that some squad players could be selected, while also pointing out that the reserve team that lost 2-0 to St Mirren on Tuesday was youthful and did not include any first team fringe players. There is probably a need to freshen up the team in any case; an argument could be made for change even if this weekend's game was a Championship fixture. The past 3 League games have produced less than stellar performances, with some players lacking form.
Of the 3 recent loan signings, the Hearts pair of Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald will both return to their parent club to play for Hearts Colts in the Challenge Cup tomorrow. Both were cup-tied in any case but it is disappointing that the terms of their loan deals did not prevent them being risked in such a competition. The third loan signing, Kilmarnock's Greg Kiltie, is available tomorrow.
In goals, I would give much-needed first team game time to Cammy Gill, especially with Ryan Scully being out of sorts recently. In central defence, Tom Lang is surely due a start; with Euan Murray injured, Stuart Morrison benched last weekend in favour of Danny Devine, who went onto have a game littered with blunders, Lang has to start tomorrow.
There has been no word on Ryan Dow's fitness, after the winger missed the Arbroath game through injury. He would go into my starting 11 if fit. Paul Paton would drop out, with Kyle Turner moving to central midfield. Greg Kiltie would start on the left wing.
Up front, had Lewis McCann not been with the Irish Under 21 squad this weekend, I would have given him a start in his natural position - striker, not a converted winger. There is no need to reinvent McCann as a left winger as we now have several of those in the squad. In his absence, Andy Ryan partners Kevin Nisbet in a team designed to attack.