Dunfermline: Boss of month Allan Johnston - hands off our players

Dunfermline's Allan Johnstone with his manager of the month award
Allan Johnston's side lead Scottish League One

Allan Johnston has vowed to hold on to top scorer Faissal El Bakhtaoui and the rest of the Dunfermline Athletic squad after being named manager of the month.

Johnston took the Scottish League One award after leading the Pars to four straight victories during December.

"We can't afford to lose any of our best players," said the leaders' manager. "It's too important a season.

"We've got ambitions to win the league and you want to strengthen the team rather than weaken it."

Johnston did, however, tip El Bakhtaoui for a step up the leagues if he continues his strong form this season.

The 23-year-old Frenchman has scored 19 times during the current campaign.

"He's not just a goalscorer, he's a team player, he's skilful and his work-rate is phenomenal," Johnston told sponsor Ladbrokes.

"He's got everything to go on and have a bright future if he keeps progressing the way he has."

Faissal El Bakhtaoui in action for Dunfermline
Faissal El Bakhtaoui has scored 19 times this season for Dunfermline

Dunfermline's December run included a 2-1 win away to Ayr United, who were level on points at the time, and Johnston's side have since stretched their lead to nine.

"The last thing you're going to do is get carried away," said the 42-year-old, who led Queen of the South to the League One title in 2013.

"We're in a good position just now, but there are loads of games to go. We're just past the halfway point."

Johnston was delighted with his award.

"It's always good when you get a bit of recognition," he added.

"You're really getting the recognition on behalf of the players and all the work they've done because they've been unbelievable this season, not just over the month.

"The consistency the boys have shown is reflected in the results we've been getting."