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John Hughes confirms interest in Rangers defender but fears Kai Kennedy is destined for Dunfermline exit

Hughes and his targets
Hughes and his targets

John Hughes has revealed Dunfermline are pursuing a move for Rangers defender James Maxwell.

The 20-year-old is currently on loan with Ayr United but the Glasgow giants have been presented with several potential pathways for their young left-back.

The Honest Men would like to keep him until the end of the season, while Partick Thistle are reportedly among his suitors.

And Hughes has confirmed that Dunfermline are another of his admirers and, despite candidly confessing that he is not confident of securing Maxwell’s services, is earnestly making their case.

Maxwell on Ayr duty

“We’ve made contact [regarding Maxwell] and we’re in that process,” said Hughes.

“Am I confident? No, not really. But that’s the kind of quality we’re trying to bring to the club.

“He’s been out on loan twice — he did very well down at Queen of the South and he’s doing very well at Ayr United. He’s a player I would like at the club and it’s still ongoing.

“We’re still in dialogue, and you’re hoping it might come our way. If he did, then the fans would be very happy.”

Hughes added: “Another reason for that is he can play in a number of positions — left-back, left wing, wide right — and you’re killing two birds with one stone.

“That’s big for us as well, players that can do that. That way you can narrow down your squad.”

Kai goodbye?

Hughes, meanwhile, has expressed his fear that Rangers will recall Kai Kennedy next month.

The gifted winger has found first-team opportunities relatively scarce due to illness and injury and, while he has illustrated moments of magic, they have been fleeting.

Gifted: Kennedy in full flow

The Scotland under-21 internationalist has notched one goal and two assists from his 15 appearances.

Hughes remains keen to keep Kennedy but acknowledges that it may not be enough to keep the teenager in Fife.

“Kai’s going to be a difficult one,” added the Dunfermline boss.

“Rangers didn’t let us cup-tie him because of his [lack of] game-time and, just as he was starting to find his feet, he took ill and has found himself out of the team.

“That might be a recall from Rangers.

“You have to speak to the player first and try to twist his arm. Kai’s giving it ‘game-time, game-time’ — just like I would be saying — and you have to say you understand.

“I have to weigh up all the pros and cons.

“But one thing I can tell you is he’s a smashing boy and he’s got a massive future.

“Kai can turn a game and if he’s here after the window then I would be absolutely delighted. He fills that left-hand side until Dom [Thomas] gets back — and then there’s competition for places.”

Hughes also stated that fellow loan kid Ross Graham is likely to return to Dundee United in January.

6 transfer window priorities for Dunfermline as John Hughes prepares to ‘spin plates’

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