EUAN MURRAY insists that his full focus is on helping Dunfermline continue their fine start to the season despite background “noise” over his future.

The 26-year-old, who was appointed club captain for this season, has been an ever-present in a side that is top of the Championship and, on Saturday, advanced to a Betfred Cup quarter-final with St Johnstone.

Centre back Murray scored his seventh goal of the season in the 3-1 win at Arbroath and his sparkling form has led to speculation that he may be attracting interest from other clubs.

Having signed a two-year deal from this weekend’s opponents, Raith Rovers, last summer, Murray will be out of contract next summer and a national newspaper report earlier this week claimed that he had turned down fresh terms at East End.

That was denied by head coach Stevie Crawford and, speaking to Press Sport, Murray said he “can’t be the one preaching to boys about remaining focused on game to game if I’m getting drawn into that kind of thing”.

“It’s not something I’ve focused on a great deal at all,” he explained.

“My focus has been from every other week, the next game, and I understand how important it is for my team for me to be fully focused. Certainly, that’s what I am. I’m a Dunfermline player, I’m the captain of the club, and for me my job is to make sure we go out on Saturday and hopefully try and win this game.

“It’s just not something we feel we need to speak about at this minute. There’s obviously a bit of noise; I couldn’t even have told you that had come out. You expect noise at certain times and that’s all it is for me at the minute.

“I’ll go into Saturday and I’m certainly as focused as ever. Nothing will take away my head from the game or the following game or game after that.

“I take care of myself first and foremost, my performances, and then hopefully having the positive influence on the rest of the players on the park, and be the best captain I can.”

Crawford commented: “Where we’re at at the moment on that side of things is that I don’t want to lose focus. I speak to the chairman every second day just about on the progression of this football club but, in regards to the contract situation, it’s not at a time at the moment for that.

“Our focus is very much on the Raith Rovers game, applying ourselves properly that there’s no distractions moving forward at this time.”

The Pars, meanwhile, head to Kirkcaldy for a derby clash that pits the division’s leaders against third-placed Raith, against each other for the first time since a 2019 Scottish Cup tie.

Rovers won 3-0 and had Murray in their ranks, and he knows Athletic will face a stern test of their promotion credentials at Stark’s Park.

“We won’t be getting complacent with any results,” he continued.

“I understand, with having worked with John McGlynn before, how difficult his team will be to play against and the different threats that they will carry. But the manager and his coaching staff have been very good this season in putting a game plan on which allows us to go and try to win the game.

“We’ll work throughout the week on trying to win the game, and when it comes down to it it will be up to us. If we go there and play as well as we can, we’ll be confident.

“We understand the fans’ frustration that they can’t be there so it’s important to remember how big a fixture this is for them. I don’t think the fixture needs much talking up in terms of motivating people; as a group, we’re motivated every week. We want to go and put on a performance that the fans can watch in the house and be proud of.”