Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston ‘hopeful’ of holding onto in-demand Faissal El Bakhtaoui



Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston is adamant the Pars have not given up hope of holding on to Faissal El Bakhtaoui after Motherwell dropped out of the running for the in-demand striker.

The French-Moroccan forward is has caught the eye of the Steelmen, Dundee, Aberdeen and Fleetwood Town after notching 30 goals during the Fifers’ title triumph and winning PFA Scotland League 1 player of the year.

However, with Lewis Moult committing his future to the Fir Parkers and Scott McDonald likely to extend his stay, ‘Well boss Mark McGhee has dropped his interest in El Bakhtaoui.

allanjohnstonfaissalelbakhtaouiThe 23-year-old’s contract expires at the end of this month as Johnston has confirmed the club remain in talks with the player’s agent regarding extending his stay at East End Park.

El Bakhtaoui, who is currently back in France following his exploits of last term, was brought to Dunfermline by former boss Jim Jefferies in 2012 and, after a slow start to his career in Scotland, has emerged as one of their key men.

Johnston, who this week snapped up former Kilmarnock defender Lee Ashcroft said: “We are working on strengthening the attacking department as well, and we are hopeful of keeping Fais [El Bakhtaoui].

“He has been a massive player for us through this season and we are still doing our best to keep him. We’re still talking to his agent.

“We’d like to bring in another couple of strikers as well, so hopefully we can do that in the next few weeks.”

Addressing his future recently, El Bakhtaoui admitted he would weigh up his options ahead of Dunfermline’ return to the Championship.

He said: “I’m happy at Dunfermline. I don’t know if I will be here next season, anything can happen in football.”