New Dunfermline signing Kallum Higginbotham plans to step into Fassial El Bakhtaoui’s shoes

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New Dunfermline forward Kallum Higginbotham admits he is hoping his arrival can soften the blow of Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s departure.

The 27-year-old signed a 12-month contract with the Championship newcomers on Monday after negotiating his release from Kilmarnock.

Higginbotham, who made his debut from the bench in Tuesday’s convincing 3-0 Betfred Cup victory over Arbroath, joined as the Pars resigned themselves to losing El Bakhtaoui after the 30-goal French-Moroccan striker went on trial with Blackburn Rovers.

kallumhigginbothamEven though he is not regarded as an out-and-out striker, attacking midfielder Higginbotham is hoping he can become the new East End Park fans favourite.

He said: “I think Dunfermline were probably Scotland’s top scorers last year, they play attractive free-flowing football and they scored plenty of goals. Hopefully I can add to that.

“They’ve obviously lost Faissal but hopefully I can come in and show that I can take his place.

“You can see it’s a club heading in the right direction and the fans, players and the club are all singing off the same hymn sheet.

“I think the Championship next year will be a fantastic league and I’m looking forward to being part of it.

“I think this is a squad that can challenge in the Championship. When I was training with the boys I saw them on the training pitch and it’s a quality dressing room.

“If they keep adding more additions, I’m pretty sure they’ll be up there in the play-offs at the very least.”

Higginbotham admits a switch to Fife was ideal so he could commute from his family home in Edinburgh.

He said: “I live in Edinburgh, which is 15 minutes down the road, and I don’t have to move away from my family, which was a massive thing for me.

“It’s good to be able to live at home and play football at a good standard.”

Higginbotham admits he had no qualms about being told he was free to leave Rugby Park just half-way through a two-year deal.

The playmaker scored six goals in 31 appearances for a Kilmarnock side that preserved their Premiership status with a play-off final victory over Falkirk.

He added: “I would be the first one to admit that I didn’t have a fantastic season although I thought I finished it strongly.

“That happens in football, the gaffer (Lee Clark) wanted to go in a different direction and I’ll hold my hands up and accept that.

“I’ll not say a bad word about Kilmarnock. It’s a fantastic club but I’ve moved on and I’m at a fantastic club now.

“I still had another year left at Killie so I had to get sorted out. When I became a free agent, I asked the gaffer (Allan Johnston) if I could come in at Dunfermline and train and he said he’d like to sign me, so we got the ball rolling on that.

“I’ve been in a for a week-and-a-half and I’ve enjoyed my time.”

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