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5 Dunfermline transfer priorities as James McPake faces up to realities of ‘big summer’ prediction

The Pars boss admitted there was a "lot of work to do" after avoiding a relegation battle last season.

Dunfermline Athletic FC boss James McPake.
Dunfermline manager James McPake. Image: Calum Chittleburgh / SNS Group.

Since the permanent signing of Chris Kane last month, Dunfermline Athletic have been quiet on the transfer front.

The East End Park squad was shorn of four first-team players and seven loanees at the end of the campaign, leaving manager James McPake with plenty of work to do for next season.

With left-back Josh Edwards set to complete his move to Charlton Athletic in the coming days, there will be another significant hole in the Pars squad needing filled.

The inability to hold on to midfielder Paul Allan due to budget constraints makes it difficult to assess just what McPake will be able to do in the summer market.

Chris Kane holds up a Dunfermline scarf at East End Park.
Chris Kane signed a permanent deal with Dunfermline. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

The number of loan signings made in January through necessity because of injury cover also means it will not be a case of one out and one in from a squad that was bloated for the second half of 2023/24.

However, there are obvious areas that need strengthening after the departure of the likes of Allan, Alex Jakubiak, Max Little, Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Ben Summers.

McPake previously predicted a ‘big summer’ and Courier Sport has taken a look at where the Fifers are likely to prioritise in the coming weeks.


Deniz Mehmet has been Dunfermline’s undisputed number one for the past two years.

He followed up a record-breaking campaign in League One with a solid showing back in the Championship.

However, he would benefit from some serious competition for the number one slot.

Deniz Mehmet is pushed forward by Dunfermline Athletic FC team-mate Chris Hamilton to take the acclaim of the fans.
Deniz Mehmet has been a key presence between the sticks for Dunfermline. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

It was noticeable last term when Mehmet was injured that McPake did not appear to fully trust Max Little.

Instead, Harry Sharp was recruited on loan from Dundee, and it was no surprise to see 21-year-old Little depart last month.

Another shot-stopper is essential and one to compete hard for a start would be preferable.


With Josh Edwards on his way out to Charlton, the Pars need a replacement.

But that is easier said than done.

Edwards played all but 11 minutes in the league last season and provided pace, energy, drive and the ability to sweep in pinpoint deliveries from the left.

Josh Edwards runs away after scoring for Dunfermline Athletic F.C. against Airdrie.
Dunfermline defender Josh Edwards is set to join Charlton Athletic. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

He was top of the club’s assist charts with seven and even chipped in with four goals.

A place in the PFA Scotland Championship team of the year is an indication of how difficult it will be to find someone able to step into the breach.

With young left-back Miller Fenton also released and right-back Miles Welch-Hayes back at Livingston after his loan, another versatile full-back to cover both flanks might also be needed.


Putting aside a brief switch to a back four last term, McPake’s preference has been for a three-man defence.

Kyle Benedictus, Sam Fisher and Rhys Breen made up his chosen line-up at the start of the season. But they only played together five times due to injuries to all three.

Their absences meant both Chris Hamilton and Ewan Otoo were pressed into action in defence, a move that detracted from the midfield.

Dunfermline Athletic defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott is full of smiles as he wheels away after scoring his first senior goal.
Malachi Fagan-Walcott was a success for Dunfermline on loan from Cardiff City. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

With Fagan-Walcott, Welch-Hayes and Xavier Benjamin all having left following loans, McPake now has few options in terms of dedicated centre-halves.

He will be desperate not to have to move either Hamilton or Otoo into his back line again, which means at least one central defender is needed.

Central midfielder

This is where the defensive reinforcements and the versatility of Hamilton and Otoo come into play.

If McPake can keep the midfield duo at the heart of his team and fit then, with Joe Chalmers still under contract, he is pretty well served.

The return of highly-rated youngster Andrew Tod and the ability of Matty Todd to play in a number of roles provides further strength.

Paul Allan in action for Dunfermline.
Paul Allan in action for Dunfermline. Image: Ross Parker / SNS Group.

However, all it would take is an injury or two in defence to leave the Pars also short of midfield options.

The surprise exit of Allan, who finished the season in top form, deprives the Fifers of a calming, passing presence in midfield.

A like-for-like replacement for the 24-year-old would give McPake some depth to his midfield choices.

Creative attacker

Dunfermline’s 43 league goals scored means that only relegated pair Arbroath (35) and Inverness Caley Thistle (41) bagged fewer last term.

Morton netted the same as the Pars and Airdrie just one more, but Partick Thistle in third scored 63 and runners-up Raith Rovers found the net 58 times.

The Pars will hope they have gone some way towards improving that record with the permanent signing of Chris Kane, who scored an impressive five times in ten games on loan from St Johnstone.

Owen Moffat gets on the ball for the Pars.
Former Celtic youngster Owen Moffat added some creativity to the Dunfermline attack after joining on loan from Blackpool. Image: Craig Brown / DAFC.

However, a lack of goals does not always mean a lack of striking prowess. Often it is down to a lack of chances created.

With Ben Summers and Owen Moffat having returned to their parent clubs after season-long loans, and Brad Holmes and Alex Jakubiak also departed, the Pars are short in attack.

Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Lewis McCann and Michael O’Halloran can provide a threat from the flank, and Todd more centrally.

But finding someone to unlock defences from positions across the front three would seem a pressing concern.