CALLUM MORRIS has quashed rumours of an East End exit - and is looking forward to the challenge of taking the Pars back to the First Division.

The central defender is ready to return to full training following the hamstring injury that sidelined him from Athletic's failed play-off campaign at the end of last season.

Close-season rumours had linked the popular 23-year-old with a move away from Dunfermline but as the squad stepped up their preparations for the opening friendly with Hearts on Saturday, Morris told Press Sport that his only thoughts were on a promotion push this season.

He said, "It's obviously nice to have people saying things like that but rumour and speculation is part of football. I'm happy with the lads and coaching staff and everything off the park is looking positive so I'm just concentrating on getting myself back fit and playing for Dunfermline.

"I'm looking forward to the season and getting the club back to where it should be up the leagues.

"I don't see why we can't be challenging for the league."

Morris has been working with physio Kenny Murray to recover from the 13-centimetre tear he suffered in the final league match with Airdrie and spent time with physios at former club Newcastle United before returning to Pitreavie a week earlier than his team-mates.

He is set to miss out against the Jambos this weekend but is likely to be ready to feature against Falkirk in Dunfermline's second friendly a week on Saturday.

Morris admitted that while Pars United being named as the preferred bidder to take over the club was "good news", he said that the players had to concentrate on matters on the pitch.

He said, "No matter what was going to happen with that situation we have to block that out, be professional about it and concentrate on the football first and foremost.

"Obviously it's good news and hopefully we'll be out of administration shortly but for us we have to concentrate on our job in taking the club forward on the pitch.

"We're feeling positive and although we have a young, developing squad, I think we've got enough to be there challenging and pushing to get back into the First Division.

"We've got a wealth of experience with the gaffer, Neil (McCann) and Potts (John Potter) and a lot of the lads have played quite a few games so that's not a big worry.

"We've got to go into it with a positive mindset and aim for the top of the league and I don't see why not.

"We've had the summer to think about what happened last year and it's done now, we can't change it.

"The only thing we can change is performances on the pitch now and hopefully finish as high up the league as possible."