Dundee new boy Faissal El Bakhtaoui last night pledged to become a fans’ favourite – and fill the void left by Kane Hemmings.
The French forward joined the Dark Blues on a three-year deal earlier this week after notching 30 goals as Dunfermline romped to the League One title last season.
El Bakhtaoui, 23, was a darling among the Pars faithful for his exploits in front of goal which made him a target for several clubs including Blackburn Rovers.
The Dens Park striker knows he has big shoes to fill in replacing former favourite Hemmings, who left for Oxford United in a £250,000 deal last week, but is intent on winning the hearts of the Dundee fans.
El Bakhtaoui, pictured, said: “I think I can help things. I want to show the fans I’m here, with Kane having moved on. We’re different players obviously. But I bring other qualities to the team and will be concentrating on myself and doing it my way. That’s what I’ve always done throughout my career.
“I’m looking forward to scoring my first goal for Dundee and showing the supporters and everyone at the club what I’m capable of. I’ve got pace and goals in my game which can help this club.
“For me, it was a difficult decision to leave Dunfermline. I had been loved there by the fans and everyone at the club. The supporters were great with me and that was one of the reasons I felt so good about myself. But now I have moved on to Dundee who will get my 100 per cent effort and attention. I want to do something in my career and this is a great place to be. I hope to recreate the rapport I had with the fans at Dunfermline here at Dundee.”
El Bakhtaoui is relishing his first crack at the Scottish top flight and holds no regrets that a possible move to Owen Coyle’s Blackburn Rovers didn’t materialise after going on trial there recently.
He added: “I am confident I can play at this level. Last season, I scored goals at this level [against Premiership sides in the cups] so that gives me confidence. So it’s up to me to show everyone I can do it at this level.
“I’m ready to go so it’s up to the manager now to decicde if I play.”
“It’s the best decision for me to come to Dens Park,” added the striker. “To be honest, I’m not that disappointed the move to Blackburn didn’t come off. It was good going there on trial after being invited by their manager. I said why not? So I went but I’ve no regrets it didn’t happen.
“It’s been good to see what the level was like in the Championship because it was another experience for me.”
El Bakhtaoui would love to get the nod for tomorrow’s opening-day trip to Ross County and admits he’s settled in right away to his new surroundings.
He said: “The boys have been good to me in training since I came in. So I can’t wait to play. I just want to the season to get started and try to play every week. I think I am a mixture of being confident and excited. I am prepared to work hard to get into the team and give it my best shot.”