DUNFERMLINE have begun preparing for a promotion push next season by re-signing Lee Ahscroft on a new one-year deal.
The former Kilmarnock defender has been a permanent fixture in Allan Johnston’s side since joining last summer, starting all but one of the Pars’ outings this term.
With his deal about to expire after Saturday’s last game of the season against Queen of the South, the Fifers have successfully moved to tie up the 23-year-old on fresh terms.
The East End Park outfit have the majority of their squad coming to the end of their contracts this summer and more players are expected to follow Ashcroft in committing themselves to the club beyond the summer.
Johnston said: “Lee has had a good first season and he’s popular with the boys and got the players’ player of the year award.
“He’s got another year and I’m delighted to get someone of his quality to sign.
“He’s at a good age and he’s learning all the time. He’s worked hard to improve and he’s improved as the season has gone on.
“The players have done really, really well this season, so it’s important we try to keep the nucleus of the squad together and build on that.
“It takes a wee bit of time but we’re hoping to get one or two over the line and work our way through the players.”
Dunfermline travel to face Queen of the South just one place below the play-off places and are keen to remain there to lay a marker down for next season.
The Pars endured a difficult start to the campaign but have lost just four times in their last 22 league games.
Johnston added: “We’ve still got a lot to play for. If Queens win the game then they finish fifth and we want to finish fifth.
“So, it’s an important game to try to win and we know we’re more than capable of going there and winning.
“It’s important to finish on a high.
“We won our last home game at the weekend there and we would like to finish the season with another win.”