STEVIE CRAWFORD admits that he can't guarantee that he will be able to further strengthen his squad by the end of the month – but it won't be for the lack of trying.

The Athletic head coach secured his first acquisition of the transfer window last Friday when he snapped up Airdrieonians full back Kyle MacDonald on a two-and-a-half year deal, with the player set to return to the League One side if football beneath the Championship is given the green light to resume.

Dunfermline have been linked with a number of players over the course of January so far, with teenage Crystal Palace midfielder Scott Banks, formerly of Dundee United, the latest name suggested.

Crawford wouldn't be drawn on individuals, nor on contractual situations relating to some of his players whose deals are up in the summer, but reiterated his stance that anyone coming in would have to improve on what he already has at his disposal.

There has been activity heading out of East End, with Gabby McGill, who spent the first part of the season on loan with League Two Edinburgh City, heading back to former club, York City, in a similar arrangement until the end of the season, and Crawford said: "I've said in previous weeks that we do work tirelessly behind the scenes to try and strengthen the squad and that's the important thing for me.

"We do work on a number of things and most of the time it doesn't come off but if we are going to add to the squad, hopefully it will be to strengthen us. I can't guarantee there'll be additions, or an addition, between now and the end of the month because there are other parties that get involved in that but we are looking to do some work between now and the end of the month.

"In football, things happen very quickly. Although we had been monitoring Kyle MacDonald a week ago, we weren't in a position to say anything, but Kyle will be a good addition to us.

"In terms of being front foot and having something that I can turn around and say is going to happen in the next day or so then no, we're not any closer to that.

"If you throw any name at me just now it would be wrong for me to turn around and say yes, no or maybe. In that respect, I'm not going to make a comment on any player that's at another club. All I can say to you is that if there was anything to come to fruition, or news to be broken, then I'd be willing to comment on anything."

With COVID-19 protocols putting a halt to taking a look at players on a trial basis in training, and restricting movement from abroad, Crawford admits current circumstances are tougher but is keen to see football continue.

Championship clubs were to be asked whether they wanted their season to continue over the course of the weekend and Crawford, whose players had their latest round of testing on Tuesday, continued: "I'm sure if there was anything that came of it, the chairman would've made a point of touching base with me over the weekend.

"We're in a position that we're being allowed to play football and being allowed to train, so be respectful of it. We're human beings, we've all got families and we've all got homes to go to, and at some point you're going to come in contact.

"You've got to go out for a food shop or whatever it is but it's just trying to limit these. Touch wood, at the moment, we've been in a situation where we've managed to keep it at bay at the club. We've just got to try and limit being out and in amongst the public, as everyone else is doing.

"We can't guarantee it but what we can do is try and limit it, and I think the boys have been fully focused, and everybody working at the club has as well, so long may that continue."

On the pitch, the Pars go into Saturday's home clash with Ayr United still second in the division but trailing leaders Hearts by seven points.

The blank at Cappielow – only the second time Dunfermline have failed to score this season, with the other occasion coming in November's reverse clash with the Honest Men – was Athletic's fourth draw in their last five outings.

They have, however, won all but one of their home games and Crawford, who will assess Fraser Murray today (Thursday) following a tweaked hamstring sustained at Morton, added: "We've drawn four of the last five but I was looking at things over the weekend again and, whether it's down to the weather or whatever it is, the fixtures we've faced probably haven't been kind when you look at them on paper.

"We've went up to Dundee, drawn there, up at Inverness, Raith Rovers, who were in a great bit of form when we went there. Then you go down to Morton, where one of the tests for us at the weekend was that we hadn't played since the Inverness game.

"Albeit, we never cut them open in terms of creating chances, but I think out of the six games we've played away from home, we've drawn five and beaten Alloa.

"The positive from that, when you flip it, is we've won four of our five games at home. That's decent form in my eyes and it's not getting caught up in that we've won one game in the last six, but looking at the positives of some of the venues we've been going at, and competing in these games where we could possibly have won."