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Efe Ambrose: John Hughes claims St Johnstone star harder to track down than ‘Lord Lucan’ as Dunfermline boss confirms interest in ex-Celtic and Hibs man

Dunfermline have got St Johnstone defender Efe Ambrose on their radar.
Dunfermline have St Johnstone defender Efe Ambrose on their radar, John Hughes has confirmed.

John Hughes has confirmed Dunfermline’s interest in Efe Ambrose.

But the Pars gaffer has joked the St Johnstone defender is harder to pin down than Lord Lucan.

The Pars are seeking defensive reinforcements after Mark Connolly’s loan from Dundee United expired following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hamilton Accies.

Hughes, who has already brought in Coll Donaldson on loan from Ross County this month, believes former Celtic, Hibs and Livingston centre-half Ambrose could be the answer.

But the Fifers boss has found the 33-year-old, who appears to be surplus to requirements at McDiarmid Park, too elusive so far as he bids to strengthen his options in time for this weekend’s meeting with Inverness Caley Thistle.

Efe Ambrose looks set to face his former side Celtic at the weekend.
Efe Ambrose has proved tough to track down for Dunfermline boss John Hughes

He said: “There’s a few on the radar and we’ve had a few disappointments. You think you’re just about there on one or two and then it doesn’t happen.

“But I would like to think that we might have at least one in the squad for Saturday’s match.

“I was hoping it would be Efe but I need someone to track him down and ask him the question, because he’s worse than Lord Lucan!

“We need to see where exactly he is in the plans with Callum [Davidson, St Johnstone manager].

“We’re working on one or two, but we’ve not got an abundance of cash and, when one comes in, the door will close on someone else.”

Dunfermline boss John Hughes is looking for central defenders

Central defence is an obvious priority for Dunfermline following Connolly’s return to United and his subsequent departure for Dundalk.

However, Hughes insists he already has adequate replacements in his squad following the long-awaited return to fitness of Lewis Martin and the return to health of Rhys Breen following illness.

He added: “That’s an area we’re looking at.

“But Lewis Martin can stand in there, and big Rhys Breen is back from Covid; we just need to monitor him and keep our eye on him, in terms of the fatigue. We have to be very, very careful.

“We’ve got enough to keep us covered.

Mark will be hard to replace but that’s our job, to replace him and keep moving it forward.

“It’s a challenge, I have to say that, but it’s a challenge we’re up for and hopefully someone can step into the void – or we bring someone in.”

Matty Todd deal

Meanwhile, midfielder Matty Todd has become the latest youngster to sign a new contract after agreeing to stay at Dunfermline until 2024.

The 20-year-old made just two appearances for the Pars last season but has been an ever-present under the reign of John Hughes and made his 13th outing of the campaign in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hamilton Accies.

Todd’s agreement follows on from the deals agreed with Paul Allan, 21, and Lewis McCann, 20, whilst Miller Fenton, 18, is expected to follow.

Hughes commented: “These guys are the lifeblood of the club. They care about the club, they’re in the community, they’re home birds, they have a pride in the club.

“It’s important they’re getting game-time in the first-team and they set the benchmark.

“But apart from that, they’re good footballers. I think that’s been proven over the last two or three weeks.

“My message to them is, ‘don’t sit back and rest on your laurels, thinking there’s a new contract’ or they’ll soon find themselves sitting next to me on the bench.

“Don’t be found wanting, and have a growth mindset, in terms of asking how you can get better every day you come into training. Listen, learn and go and implement it.

“That’s the message to them, because we’re constantly looking to see how we can make it better.

“But I’m delighted for these kids, I really am. They’ve not let me down.

“With young kids you do have to take them out every now and then, but they’re starting to find their way.

“It’s a big ask for them. We’re at the bottom of the league, we’re struggling, but they’ve not let themselves down and they’ve not let their team-mates down, that’s for sure.”

Efe Ambrose to Dunfermline? The numbers behind St Johnstone exile as Pars eye former Celtic star

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