ATHLETIC have announced that versatile midfielder James Craigen will leave the club at the end of the month.

The 28-year-old, who joined the Pars in January 2018, is departing East End for what they club said was a "fresh challenge".

In a short statement released this afternoon, they said: "DAFC wish to announce that James Craigen will be leaving our club when his contract expires on 31 May 2019.

After ongoing discussions, James felt he needed a fresh challenge. He leaves with our very best wishes for the future."

Craigen himself took to social media, posting: "Thank you to everyone connected with the club for making my time so special it’s been one of the most enjoyable spells of my career, I wish the club all the best for the future and big thank you to the fans for always supporting me @officialdafc".

After beginning his career with Preston North End, Craigen joined Partick Thistle in the summer of 2012 after playing for Edinburgh University while studying there.

In three years with the Jags, he won the First Division title - scoring the goal against rivals Greenock Morton that helped seal promotion - before moving to Raith Rovers.

He helped the Kirkcaldy club reach the Premiership play-offs, in which they lost to Hibernian, during his solitary season at Stark's Park, after which he joined Falkirk.

Craigen spent a season-and-a-half with the Bairns before former Pars boss Allan Johnston secured his signature, and the Englishman went on to establish himself as a key member of the side.

Following his debut in a Scottish Cup loss to Morton, he featured a further 17 times - scoring once - in his first season as Athletic pipped Inverness Caledonian Thistle to the final promotion play-off spot.

Despite losing out to Dundee United, he penned a new one-year contract with the club last summer and made 41 appearances last season, with his last coming in the final day loss at Inverness.

Craigen becomes the 14th player to leave Dunfermline this summer as head coach Stevie Crawford rebuilds his squad for next season.

Kallum Higginbotham, Ryan Williamson, Lee Robinson, Mark Durnan, Louis Longridge, Aidan Connolly, Brandon Luke, Robbie Muirhead and the retired Sean Murdoch have all exited, as did on-loan quartet James Vincent, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Ryan Blair and Bruce Anderson.

Crawford so far has completed deals to sign Ryan Dow and Aaron Comrie.