Hughes signs Dodd and ties up young stars

DESPITE the disappointment of the defeat by Motherwell at Fir Park last Saturday, the week has turned out to be reasonably productive for Falkirk manager John Hughes.

The Bairns boss enhanced his defensive options with the acquisition of 25-year-old Australian central defender Karl Dodd on a free transfer and laid another marker in the development of the club's future by extending the contracts of talented teenage midfielders Darren Barr and Mark Twaddle.

"The Motherwell result was disappointing," acknowledged Hughes, "but I can't complain about the effort the players showed. Our problem just now is that we're conceding too many goals so, by signing Karl, I'm hopeful I can increase competition for places in defence and maybe sharpen things up at the back. "Darren and Mark have set the standard for the younger players at the club and I'm delighted they've chosen to extend their contracts. I'm hoping to start looking at some of the other guys whose contracts will be expiring shortly but it is unrealistic to start negotiations until we know for sure what division we'll be playing in next season."

Yogi's men, who currently sit nine points clear of bottom club Livingston, can go a long way towards confirming their status as an SPL club by taking full points from their visit to Kilmarnock tomorrow and Hughes is looking forward to once again locking horns with his former mentors Jim Jefferies and Billy Brown.

"I've a lot to thank Jim and Billy for" he said, "they did a lot for me when they were in charge at Falkirk."

Hughes has been boosted by the return to training of long term injury victim defender Craig McPherson.

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