Ex-Leeds United midfielder eyes dream ticket to Scottish Premier League

Josh Falkingham.
Josh Falkingham.
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Rothwell lad Josh Falkingham is in the departure lounge with his new Dunfermline team-mates – waiting to see if he is handed a dream fast-track ticket to the Scottish Premier League.

The former Leeds United midfielder recently joined the division one outfit on a two-year deal from Arbroath, but could now find himself plying his trade in the top-flight come the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

A ‘Club 12’ slot in the SPL is waiting to be filled, with stricken giants Rangers no longer in the division and while Dundee are being proposed over Dunfermline for the vacant spot, the Pars – relegated last term – insist they should claim the place.

Dundee finished second behind first division winners Ross County last season and Pars chairman John Yorkston insists there is no criteria for a second team going up.

Falkingham said: “It would be unbelievable if I could become an SPL player without kicking a ball. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. If we do play in the SPL, that would be such a good thing for me as I’ll be playing at the highest level I can be in Scotland.

“Being back full-time in the first division is what I wanted, but playing in the SPL would be big for my CV and in terms of my exposure against teams like Celtic and Aberdeen. If you do well in the SPL, rather than the first division, you are going to get noticed even more and that’s in the back of my mind.

“I just need to get my head down over pre-season now. I just want to be playing and if it’s the First Division, great, or the SPL, absolutely fantastic.”

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The 21-year-old, freed by Leeds after 11 years in 2010, admits he can’t wait to start his adventure with Jim Jeffries’ Dunfermline after another excellent campaign at Arbroath.

While the Red Lichties agonisingly lost out in the First Division play-off final to Dumbarton in May, Falkingham hit the heights, scoring eight goals, claiming the young player of the year award and also being named in the division two team of the season.

That followed a breakthrough 2010-11 which saw him named Irn Bru SFL Player of the Year for his feats in helping Arbroath win the division three title.

He said: “Hopefully now I can kick on again and you never know what can happen.

“The size of the club gives me a buzz. And the manager l’ll be working under is just the perfect option at this time of my career.

“The manager has worked at the likes of Hearts and Bradford when they were in the Premier League and that was a big pull.”