Dunfermline Athletic will ask for next month’s Scottish FA Youth Cup final against Celtic to be rescheduled should they find themselves plunged into a relegation battle today.
Manager Jim Jefferies has been forced to rely heavily on youngsters since seven first-team players were made redundant when the club was placed in interim-administration a fortnight ago.
If, as expected, the SFL mete out a points deduction when they meet at Hampden today, the Pars’ final game of the season at home to basement outfit Airdrie could be vital to their hopes of remaining in the First Division.
But that match is due to be played just two days after the Under-20s are scheduled to lock horns with Celtic at Hampden.
Eight of the kids that were in the squad for Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Hamilton are likely to be involved in the final.
As things stand, fifth-placed Dunfermline are only 13 points clear of Cowdenbeath, who occupy the relegation play-off place, and 23 ahead of Airdrie.
Jefferies, who warned at the weekend that demotion could lead to further player cut-backs, said: “You have to remember that the under-20s will be needed for this cup final, which is taking place just two days before we face Airdrie. John Potter [under-20 coach] has been looking into that about potentially bringing it forward to the Wednesday or maybe even getting our game moved back to the Sunday, just to give the boys more time to recover. I don’t know if there is anything in the rules that would allow us to do it. They might just say to us, ‘well, it’s your own doing’.
“It would be a big ask to ask these guys to play in the final on the Thursday and then play on the Saturday in what could be a very important game.”
Jefferies, whose side will also face title hopefuls Morton and Partick Thistle, as well as Fife rivals Cowdenbeath during their remaining four games, added: “The club is being punished but the bottom line is that we all suffer because of the consequences of what has happened.
“It’s the club’s fault, not the players.
“It does not change the fact that we have a bunch of kids, it’s a tough ask for them to come in.
“The most important thing is that the club stays alive, and on the playing side that the club remains in the First Division.
“The games we have coming up against Cowdenbeath and Airdrie were already tough games for us.
“And now we’re going into these two games with a much younger team but you have to have that belief.”