James McPake insists Dunfermline will take up the option of a new contract for Josh Edwards – and admits the full-back could not hope for a better mentor than Dave Mackay.
McPake revealed Edwards’ performances for the Pars at left wing-back are a hot topic of conversation when he meets people throughout football.
The 23-year-old has caught the eye this season in the SPFL Championship and is expected to be another key performer this weekend against old club Airdrie.
McPake knows Edwards has had suitors in the past and has confessed one club had an approach for the former Kilmarnock trainee knocked back in January.
The defender subsequently penned a 12-month extension that is due to expire in the summer.
But the East End Park boss has confirmed the club have an option clause in that deal to add another year on to his agreement.
That will reassure supporters who were concerned Edwards could leave the Fifers for free at the end of the current campaign.
McPake said: “The club has an option in our favour to extend Josh’s contract if we want to keep him.
“I had heard a few rumours that he was out of contract and teams will be looking at him.
“But that’s not the case. One hundred per cent, we will be taking up that option.
“Josh has been great for us – and he’s getting better.
McPake delighted with ‘excellent’ Josh Edwards
“The difference in him from this season to last season is big.
“He’s still putting in the performances in the Championship that he was in League One, if not, I would say, better.
“Every other manager I speak to asks about him.
“There was a club that tried to take him in January but we turned them down.
“He’s excellent, a really good player and really good to work with. He’s a good player, and a good guy as well.”
Dunfermline Athletic defender has ‘all the tools he needs’
McPake’s assistant, Dave Mackay, made his living at full-back with Dundee, Oxford United and Livingston, and most famously went on to lift the 2014 Scottish Cup as St Johnstone skipper.
According to McPake, the Dunfermline number two’s experience can only help Edwards – who netted his first league goal of the season in last week’s win over Arbroath.
🎥 The goals from the 3-0 win over Arbroath.
Full highlights later 🏁 pic.twitter.com/34pUAhoH56
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) November 29, 2023
He added: “He wants to learn and in Dave (Mackay) he has a fantastic former full-back he can learn from.
“Dave played 600-odd games and he’s probably forgotten more about being a full-back than Josh knows.
“So he’s adding to that and hopefully we can get Josh to the point where he’s closer to Dave.
“He can go on and have a fantastic career, he’s got all the tools he needs.”
Injury update on Kane Ritchie-Hosler
Meanwhile, McPake has confirmed that Kane Ritchie-Hosler will undergo surgery on his shoulder on Monday and he expects the winger to be out of action until March at the earliest.
He added: “We’ll know more when the surgeon goes in and assesses the damage but we’re talking three months at least.”
Injured defenders Kyle Benedictus, Sam Fisher and Rhys Breen will all miss the trip to Airdrie but Fisher could return for the visit of Partick Thistle on December 16.
As things stand, Breen and Benedictus are in line to be back available for the meeting with Arbroath at Gayfield on December 23.