Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston insists he has the squad that can challenge for Championship play-offs



Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston insists his summer recruit drive proves that the Pars mean business in the Championship.

Experienced marksman Farid El Alagui joined the club on a short-term deal earlier this week and links up a squad that includes the likes of Nicky Clark, Kallum Higginbotham, John Herron and Gavin Reilly.

Following the arrival of former Hibs forward El Alagui, Johnston has no immediate plans to seek any more reinforemcents until at least January.

allanjohnstonAnd despite a difficult start leaving the Fife side with only three points from their opening four matches, Johnston, whose team host Dundee United today, is adamant that he has put together a squad that can challenge at the top end of the second tier.

He said: “I am really happy with the squad that we have assembled. It is really strong and we have depth in every position with players who can come in and play. It is great to have that competition and I am sure it will push us on.

“The club doesn’t want to stand still, we don’t want to be just making up the numbers in the Championship.

“We want to try and be successful, we want to push on this year.

“You can see that with the signings that we have made. Guys like Nicky Clark, John Herron coming in – all boys with good ability.”

Johnston has urged El Alagui to prove he deserves a longer deal at Dunfermline after handing the 31-year-old a contract until January due to concerns over his fitness.

The Frenchman only managed to make 21 appearances in two seasons at Easter Road due a series of set-backs.

Johnston added: “He has trained everyday, played a few games although he is still not 100 per cent match fit because he has not had a lot of games.

“He missed a bit of pre season as well but he gives us that presence upfront. He was prepared to come in and sign a short term deal and prove that he is worthy of a longer contract.

“He has scored goals throughout his career at a good level, he has made and created chances. When you look at the strikers that we have got, he is something totally different.

“He has a physical presence and somebody who needs to get his career back on track as well so he has a lot to prove.

“You can see when talking to him that he still has that hunger and desire to do well.”

The Pars were beaten 2-0 by United at Tannadice in the Betfred Cup in July but Johnston insists that result will have no bearing today.

He added: “I think it will be a different game from both teams, you look at the players that they’ve brought in since then as well.

“But we have quality players and we must make sure that we make them defend. We probably didn’t do that enough in the last game.”