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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 19:20 GMT
Falkirk not giving up on Stokes
Anthony Stokes
Anthony Stokes has been the SPL's most lethal striker
Falkirk head coach John Hughes has not given up hope of bringing Anthony Stokes back from Arsenal on loan.

The Scottish Premier League's top scorer missed Monday's 5-1 defeat of Dundee United because his initial spell at Falkirk Stadium had ended.

And the 18-year-old is attracting interest from other clubs.

However, Hughes told BBC Sport: "Anthony is away back to Arsenal to sort out his future, but it's not done and dusted for us yet."

Arsene Wenger has said publicly that he would be happy for Stokes to remain at Falkirk on loan.

He said he would be leaving the decision to Stokes, but as yet no final decision has been made.

I honestly don't know where my future lies

Anthony Stokes

"I will keep the door open as long as I can, but I owe it to the Falkirk supporters to go and get my work done," said Hughes.

"I've got one or two other irons in the fire.

"If that means bringing in another striker then so be it."

It is thought likely that Stokes will now be sold in the January transfer window.

Charlton, Sunderland and an SPL club are known to be interested in signing the striker.

Stokes has previously been linked with Celtic and the Glasgow club's chief scout, Ray Clarke, confirmed earlier this month that they had watched the striker on at least four occasions.

The Irish teenager told the Daily Express: "I honestly don't know where my future lies. My deal with Falkirk has expired and it hasn't been renewed.

"So it's a case now of waiting to see what Arsenal want to do."

It means that his hat-trick in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle could have been his last act as a Falkirk player.

"Even if I do leave the club - which looks likely now - I will always be proud of that achievement," said Stokes.

He has scored 16 goals for Falkirk - 14 in the league - in 18 appearances for the club.



SEE ALSO
Stokes to decide Falkirk future
29 Dec 06 |  Falkirk
Decision time for Stokes and Gow
27 Dec 06 |  Falkirk
Stokes' progress pleases Wenger
13 Dec 06 |  Falkirk
Hughes expecting Stokes interest
11 Dec 06 |  Falkirk
Sunderland track striker Stokes
09 Dec 06 |  Falkirk


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