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Stay or go? What next for Dunfermline’s out-of-contract players?

The Pars have 11 first-team squad members whose current deals are expiring.

Dunfermline manager James McPake.
Dunfermline manager James McPake. Image: Mark Scates / SNS Group.

After drawing the curtain down on the season on Friday, the attentions of Dunfermline Athletic manager James McPake very quickly turn to his players and rebuilding for next term.

One strength the Pars have this summer is the number of squad members still under contract for at least another year.

Sixteen players regarded as first-team regulars have deals beyond the current campaign.

Only four permanent signings are out of contract.

Dunfermline boss James McPake. Image: SNS
Dunfermline boss James McPake has 11 players coming out of contract. Image: SNS.

It means there will be a sense of continuity at East End Park.

However, that also means McPake has less wriggle room as he attempts to freshen up and strengthen his squad.

The Fifers have had seven loan players on their books since the January transfer window, but as many as four of them may not have been recruited had the squad not been decimated by injuries.

So, who are the players with question marks hanging over them?

Out of contract at DAFC

Dunfermline Athletic F.C. midfielder Paul Allan. Image: SNS.
Dunfermline midfielder Paul Allan. Image: SNS.

Paul Allan

The 24-year-old has made 33 appearances – 27 in the league – for his boyhood club this season and has hit top form in recent weeks.

A consistent and impressive performer this term, he has been preferred of late to Joe Chalmers in central midfield and is six years his junior.

It would be very harsh but, with Chalmers still under contract, Dunfermline might decide to free up some space for a midfield recruit.

Miller Fenton

The 20-year-old has featured just seven times for the Pars since his debut almost three years ago.

The left-back has found the ever-present Josh Edwards an immovable force at left-back this season.

But, with interest in Edwards and the probability he will move on, Fenton could be kept as cover.

Dunfermline Athletic FC striker Alex Jakubiak has his eyes on the ball.
Alex Jakubiak in action for Dunfermline. Image: SNS.

Alex Jakubiak

The striker helped Dundee win promotion to the Premiership last season and was bitterly disappointed not to get the chance to prove himself in the top-flight.

Starting this season late after taking time to sort out his future, the 27-year-old has only fleetingly reached his potential for Dunfermline.

A sensational display in the 3-1 win over Dundee United showed just what he can do, but will it be enough to earn another offer?

Max Little

Signed in 2022, the former QPR trainee has failed to oust Deniz Mehmet between the sticks.

Even when Mehmet was injured earlier this season, McPake signed Harry Sharp on loan from Dundee to fill in.

With just three appearances for the Pars, the 21-year-old’s late substitute’s appearance for Mehmet against Ayr United on Friday may prove his swan-song.

Loan players

Xavier Benjamin stands arms outstretched in from of the Dunfermline Athletic F.C. fans after scoring a header against Partick Thistle.
Xavier Benjamin (left) celebrates after scoring to give Dunfermline a 3-1 lead against Partick Thistle. Image: Craig Foy / SNS Group.

Xavier Benjamin (Cardiff City)

Recruited on the final day of the January transfer window, he made his debut as Dunfermline lost embarrassingly 5-0 at home to Morton.

He marked the last of just four appearances with a goal in the 3-1 win over Partick Thistle in February and was left out of the match-day squad for the last two games.

The 20-year-old has never really looked a good fit at the Pars.

Malachi Fagan-Walcott (Cardiff City)

Unlike his Cardiff colleague, Dunfermline would love to get Fagan-Walcott back for next season – but his social media message at the weekend appeared to suggest he will not return.

The former Dundee loanee also played in the 5-0 hammering from Morton but has since proved himself a classy defender and has also chipped in with three goals.

He is out of contract at Cardiff this summer but they have an option to extend that and the ex-Spurs youngster is sure to have attracted interest from elsewhere with his performances.

Brad Holmes (Blackpool)

Another signed with just days to spare in the January transfer window, Holmes has struggled to impress.

The 21-year-old failed to score in 13 outings for the Pars and was entrusted with just two starts.

He is out of contract at Blackpool in the coming weeks but showed little to suggest he will be back north of the border.

Chris Kane raises both arms in the air as he celebrates scoring his first goal for Dunfermline.
Chris Kane (right) celebrates scoring his first goal for Dunfermline in the 2-0 win over Ayr United in March. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

Chris Kane (St Johnstone)

Kane has been a vital signing for Dunfermline since joining on loan from St Johnstone in February.

His hold-up and link-up play have given the Pars attack a focal point and five goals from ten appearances was also a decent return in front of goal.

The 29-year-old’s short-term deal with Saints expires this summer and he admits he has faced up to the prospect of leaving.

If he does, Dunfermline will definitely be keen to snap him up but will face competition.

Owen Moffat (Blackpool)

Signed last summer, the former Celtic youngster has shown glimpses of his talents over the season.

A double inside the first seven minutes in the 2-1 win away to Morton in November was followed by another goal a week later against Dundee United.

But, with another year left on his deal at Blackpool, the winger is likely to be looking for more game-time than the 13 starts he managed for Dunfermline.

Ben Summers (Celtic)

Like former Hoops team-mate Moffat, Summers proved his ability with Dunfermline – but too rarely.

The 19-year-old was hampered by a series of injuries and saw his season cut short by a back injury in March.

He is highly regarded by Celtic, and by McPake, and another loan might be seen as an option.

Miles Welch-Hayes in action for Dunfermline Athletic F.C. as Raith Rovers' Sam Stanton slides in to tackle.
Miles Welch-Hayes (right) in action for Dunfermline against Raith Rovers. Image: Ewan Bootman / SNS Group.

Miles Welch-Hayes (Livingston)

The right-back was brought in as an emergency recruit when Aaron Comrie was added to Dunfermline’s defensive casualties with a knee injury in February.

An athletic and comfortable defender, the Livingston player impressed for the Pars.

But, with two years left on his contract and, having proven himself in the Championship Livi are now headed for, it would be no surprise if the Lions kept him for next season.