As Friday night approaches, Pars fans are eagerly anticipating an exciting showdown against the cinch Championship leaders Dundee United. After the positive result in Greenock following a series of three consecutive losses, Dunfermline are looking to build on that victory and continue their upward trajectory. Striker Alex Jakubiak, who played a pivotal role in last week’s win, shared his thoughts ahead of the big clash.
“Coming off the back of a positive result after three losses on the bounce, we were hoping that win could turn the fortunes in our favour. We’re feeling good and confident going into the game,” said Alex, reflecting the team’s renewed optimism.
The remarkable start against Morton proved to be crucial for the Fifers at Cappielow claimed Alex:-
“The start last Friday night was important for us; we wanted to start fast, and getting two goals inside the first 10 minutes definitely helped. Near the end, it gave us something to hang on to. I think we showed good togetherness and fighting spirit to hang on and see out the game.”
While going up 2-0 is often seen as a comfortable lead, the 27 year old who started at Watford as a youth, admitted that it can be challenging:-
“Sometimes it’s almost harder in a way, you get 2-0 – I remember I had a coach when I was younger saying 2-0 is the worst scoreline to go in at half-time because all they need is half a chance. They get a goal, and then the momentum swings completely.
Despite the two goal lead, manager James McPake wasn’t content at half time, as Alex pointed out. “The gaffer wasn’t happy at half time even though we were winning. He must have known how important it must have been to get the next goal or see the game out. I thought we did well in the second half, even though technically we lost the second half. We did well to hang on and win the game in the end.”
For McPake, a good performance is always of utmost importance and Alex felt that the side showed different qualities in each half of the match:-
“I think we showed good patterns of play in the first half, some stuff that we’d worked on in training – and even weeks before. So for it to come off in a game is definitely pleasing,” Alex said, highlighting the importance of executing the team’s strategies.
Looking ahead to the match against United, Jakubiak acknowledged the challenge. “They’re unbeaten, and they’re top of the league for a reason. We know it’s going to be a really difficult test. We’re looking forward to it; these are the games that you want to be playing in and the teams that you want to beat. We’re looking forward to it.”
The anticipation is heightened by the fact that the game will have a large crowd and will be broadcast live on the BBC Scotland channel. The Londoner commented, “I think that all adds to it, but at the end of the day it’s still just a game of football. We go out there, and we’ve got a job to do. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”
Dunfermline faces a unique scheduling challenge, with three Friday night games in four weeks. Jakubiak offered his perspective on how the regularity of Friday night fixtures helps the team adapt:-
“As a team, we know what we’re doing during the week – the days of training and the load. On a Friday you have got the whole day to prepare. Not next Friday but the Friday after, we’ve got another Friday night game and it is another opportunity to showcase on TV.”
As a former Dundee player, Alex was asked if there was maybe an extra incentive to perform against Dundee United. He replied, “I wouldn’t say it excites me or makes me want to play more aggressively, but there is that rivalry thing from when I was at Dundee. I remember not last season but the season in the Premier Division before we lost 1–0, lost a late goal. I want to change that on Friday.”
Alex’s personal journey since signing for Dunfermline two months ago has been progressing positively. “For me, coming here, I wanted to play games, and as a player, you want to start games. I’m delighted to start games; I’m enjoying it. I still think I’ve more to give; there’s more to come. I definitely feel like I’m getting stronger, getting sharper in training, and I can feel the difference in games as well.”
With six Pars appearances to his name that include three starts, Alex regards his chances of starting upcoming games
as realistic. “I hope to start again. We have got a good quality squad and team – I don’t think it’s going to be ‘we’ve won the game, play the same team’. I reckon with all the games coming up, there’s a lot of boys coming back from injury, and I think we’re going to need different players for different games. We’ll see what team the manager selects.”
Another Friday night fixture announced
The following games have been selected for live coverage on the BBC Scotland channel.
Friday January 5
Queen’s Park v Dunfermline Athletic
Live on BBC Scotland, kick-off 7.45pm